Kings and Kingship in Medieval Europe 9780951308592, 0951308599

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Kings and Kingship in Medieval Europe
 9780951308592, 0951308599

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King's College London Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies Director: Roy Wisbey




EDITORIAL BOARD: Roderick Beaton, Janet Cowen, Albinia de la Mare, Carlotta Dionisotti, Claire lsoz, Martin Jones, Susan Kruse, Janet L. Nelson, Jane Roberts, David Yeandle

Half-title: roundel of Edward I, MS Bodley Rolls 3 (by courtesy of the Bodleian Library)


edited by


King's College London Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies


@ Individual Contributors 1993

ISSN 0953-217X ISBN O 9513085 9 9

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the Briti.;h Library.

Printed on acid-free paper by Short Run Press Ltd Exeter 1993

CONTENTS page vn

List of Illustrations Contributors Abbreviations Preface



I. Broad Perspectives 1.

Le Roi dans l'Occident medieval: caracteres originaux Jacques Le Goff


II. Carolingian Tradition 2.


L' ordo de couronnement de Charles le Chauve d'Orleans (6 juin 848) Guy Lanoe Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation: comparative observations on palatine policy in the Empire Thomas 'Zotz

a Sainte-Croix



Ill. The An and Practice of Kingship 4. 5.

Celtic Kingships in the Early Middle Ages Wendy Davies The Political Ideas of Alfred of Wessex Janet L. Nelson

101 125





The Norwegian Monarchy in the Thirteenth Century Sverre Bagge 159 The Origins of the German Sonderweg? The Empire and its Rulers in the High Middle Ages Timothy Reuter 179 IV. Images of Kingship

8. The Image and Self-Image of the Medieval Ruler John Lowden 9. The Transformations of the Image of the Ideal King in Twelfth-Century Hungary Kornel Szovtik 10. The Image of St Louis Martin Kauffmann 11. Signs Deciphered-the Language of Court Displays in Late Medieval Spain Angus MacKay


241 265


V. Loyalty and Opposition 12. Kingship in the Old French Epic of Revolt Wolfgang Van Emden


VI. The Cult of Kings 13. The Paradoxes of Royal Sainthood as Illustrated by Central European Examples Gabor Klaniczay 14. The Monarch as the Object of Liturgical Veneration Andrew Hughes Index


375 425

ILLUSTRATIONS Plates 1-8, following p. 240 1. Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS latin 1, fols 422v-423r Dedicatory Poem and Image of Charles the Bald 2. Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS latin 266, fols 1v-2r Image of Lothar and Dedicatory Poem 3. London, British Library, Additional MS 37768, fols 3v-4r Dedicatory Poem and Image of Lothar 4. Ibid., front cover. Image of a Ruler 5. London, British Library, Egerton MS 1139, rear cover Acts of Charity [Mt. 25: 35-36] 6. Bamberg, Staatliche Bibliothek, MS Lit. 7, rear and front covers. SS. Peter and Paul 7. Bamberg, Staatliche Bibliothek, MS Lit. 8, rear and front covers. Virgin and Christ 8. Vienna, Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, MS 1182, fols l 90v- l 9 l r. Colophon and Devotional Image

Plates 9-I7,following p. 288 9. Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS fr. 13568, p. 1: Joinville presents his book to Louis of Navarre, the future Louis X. 10. Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS fr. 5716, p. 47 St Louis attends the Eucharist 11. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters, Acc. 54.1.2, fols l 23v- l 24r: St Louis feeds the leprous monk 12. Ibid., fols l 48v-l 49r: St Louis washes the feet of the poor 13. Ibid., fols 154v-155: Mirculous return of the Breviary



14. Ibid., fols 159v-160r: St Louis collects the bones of Crusaders 15. Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS nouv. acq. lat. 3145, fol. 100v: coronation ceremony of St Louis 16. Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale MS fr. 2813, fol. 265r: scenes from the life of St Louis 17. B. de Montfaucon, Les Monumens de la Monarchie Franroise, qui Comprennent l'Histoire de France (Paris, 1729-33), II, pl. XXIV: St Louis collects the bones of the Crusaders; St Louis feeds the leprous monk Figures

1. Map showing Royal Palaces in the Regnum Teutonicum 75 2. Ground Plan of Aachen 76 3. Site Plan of Magdeburg (Thomas Zotz) 91 4. Ground Plan of the Royal Palace of Goslar 99 5. Production and Destination of the Royal/Imperial Book (diagram: John Lowden) 215 6. Third Responsory of Matins for the feast of St Edmund, king and martyr (Andrew Hughes) 394 7. Hymn for Vespers for the feast of St Oswin, king and martyr (Andrew Hughes) 395 8. Opening of the Eighth Reponsory of Matins for the feast of St Stephen, king of Hungary (Andrew Hughes) 404 9. Part of the Eighth Reponsory of Matins for the feast of St Stephen, king of Hungary (Andrew Hughes) 405 I 0. Antiphon for Vespers for the feast of St Ladislas, king of Hungary (Andrew Hughes) 407

CONTRIBUTORS Sverre Bagge: Professor of History, University of Bergen Wendy Davies: Professor of History, University College, University of London Anne J. Duggan: Senior Lecturer in History, King's College, University of London Andrew Hughes: Professor of Music, University of Toronto Martin Kauffmann: Department of Western Manuscripts, Bodleian Library, Oxford Gabor Klaniczay: Professor of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest Guy Lanoe: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris Jacques Le Goff: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris John Lowden: Lecturer in the History of Art, Courtauld Institute, University of London Angus MacKay: Professor of History, University of Edinburgh Janet L. Nelson: Professor of History, King's College, University of London Timothy Reuter: Professor of History, University of Southampton Kornel Szovdk: Centre for Ancient and Medieval Studies (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Budapest. Wolfgang Van Emden: Emeritus Professor of French, University of Reading Thomas 'Zotz: Professor of History, Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat, Freiburg im Breisgau


Acta Sanctorum, edited by Jean Bolland and Gottfried Henschen, 70 vols (Antwerp/Brussels, 1643-1944).


Annales. Economies, societes, civilisations (Paris, 1946--).

c.; cc.

capitulum; capitula


P. Jaffe, Regesta Pontificum Romanorum ad annum 1198, edited by W. Wattenbach, S. Loewenfeld, F. Kaltenbrunner, and P. Ewald, 2 vols (Leipzig, 1885-8).


Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Auctores Antiquissimi, 15 vols (Berlin, 18771919)


Capitularia regum Francorum, edited by A. Boretius and V. Krause, 2 vols (Hanover, 1883-97; rpt, 1957) [=MGH Leges, Sectio 2]


Concilia, 2 vols in 3, edited by W. Wattenbach (Hanover, 1893-1908), and III, edited by W. Hartmann, Die Konzilien der Karolingschen Teilreiche 843-859 (Hanover, 1984) [= MGH Leges, Sectio 3]

Constitutiones Constitutiones et acta publica imperatorum et regum, 8 vols (Hanover/Leipzig, 1893-1927) = MGH Leges, Sectio IV




Monumenta Germaniae Historica

Fontes iuris Germanici

Fontes iuris Germanici antiqui in usum scholarum ex Monumentis Germaniae historica separatim editi, l O vols (Hanover/Leipzig, 18691984)


Leges (in folio), 5 vols (Hanover, 1835-89; rpt, Leipzig/Hanover, 1875-1925).


Leges, Sectiones 1-5 (Hanover/Leipzig, 18831984)

Poet. Lat.

Poetae Latini aevi Carolini, 1-11,edited by E. Di.immler, III, edited by V. Traube (Berlin, 1881-6) = Poetae Latinimedii aevi, 1-111


Scriptores rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum ex Monumentis Germaniae historica separatim editi, 61 vols (Hanover, et alibi, 1839-1935; variously re-edited and reprinted


Scriptores rerum Germanicarum, New Series (Berlin, 1922-).


Scriptores (in folio), 32 vols in 34 (Hanover, 1826-1934).


Patrologiae cursus completus, series Latina, edited by J. P. Migne, 234 vols (Paris, 18441955).

Rolls Series

Rerum Britannicarum medii tevi scriptores: Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland during the Middle Ages, published under the direction of the Master of the Rolls (London, etc., 1858-1911).

rpt SCH

reprint Studies in Church History


sub anno


sub vocabulo

PREFACE For the whole of the Middle Ages-and indeed until the French Revolution-monarchy remained the predominant (though of course not the only) form of polity for the many peoples of Europe. But the rule of one took many different forms, from the small 'family' or clan kingdoms of early Ireland to the imperial lordship of the German emperors, and no single pattern prevailed, although all were Christian and all shared a common inheritance of image and symbol from the Old Testament. The papers in this volume, which were presented at the first International Conference organized by the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies at King's College London (held in the Great Hall of the College on 23-25 April 1992), emphasize the differences in scale and practice between different regions and different periods, focus attention on some of the less-well-known monarchies (early Celtic, Hungarian, Norwegian), and examine the ways in which royal persons and royal rule were presented through art, architecture, hagiographical writing, vernacular literature, and liturgical music. The extraordinary variety of the early Celtic kingdoms in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, and Brittany is explored by Wendy Davies; the inheritance and continuance of Carolingian patterns of government by the Ottonian and Salian emperors is examined by Thomas Zotz, who emphasizes the importance of the establishment of centres of rule for an essentially peripatetic monarchy, as well as the maintenance of a conscious link with the imperial past; King Alfred's theory of a Christian royal commonwealth is elicited by Janet Nelson from his English version of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy; the development of a new ideology of kingship in Hungary is discussed by Kornel Szovak; the self-conscious elevation of the person of the monarch in thirteenth-century Norway is treated by Sverre Bagge; and Timothy Reuter presents a thought-provoking



assessment of the 'different path' taken by the German monarchy in the twelfth and thirteenth century. Buildings like the great imperial structures at Bamberg or Goslar or Aachen discussed by Thomas Zotz, made monarchy visible; so too did the majestic books commissioned to adorn royal or imperial churches and monasteries, which were no less a physical demonstration of royal status and power. John Lowden reveals the language and subtle syntax of royal and imperial manuscripts; and in a very different context, Angus McKay unravels the mysteries of royal pageants in fifteenth-century Aragon. The canonization of royal saints and the function of such cults in enhancing the status of dynasties as well as the apparent contradiction are also examined. Martin Kauffmann shows the attempted resolution of the apparent dichotomy between a monarch's necessary involvement in the harsh realities of medieval rule and the image of perfection contained in traditional hagiographical literature in the pictorial treatment of St Louis (IX) of France; Gabor Klaniczay examines the cultivation of dynastic sanctity in central Europe; and Andrew Hughes provides a survey of the liturgical music composed for the celebration of royal saints. Not all kings were saints, however; not all kings lived up to the high expectations set out in the 'mirrors for princes' composed by the learned. Wolfgang van Emden's perceptive analysis of the French 'epics of revolt' shows the beginning of a more critical attitude to kingship, perhaps reflecting a reaction to the more forceful monarchies of the Plantagenets and Capetians at the end of the twelfth century.

*** Our grateful thanks are due to the Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes (Paris) and the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Munich), which sent delegates to the meeting; to the British Academy, the Goethe Institute, the Humanties Research Committee of King's College London, who gave financial assistance for various aspects of the Conference; and to the Isobel Thomley Bequest, whose generous grant made possible the publication of this volume. For



permission to reproduce photographs from materials in their charge, the authors wish to thank the following: the Staatliche Bibliothek, Bamberg, the British Library, London, Bildarchiv Foto, Marburg, the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, and the Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna.

*** In addition, the editor wishes to record her thanks to Dr Susan Kruse and Ms Wendy Pank for their generous production of this volume.

AJD King's College London, December 1993.



LE ROI DANS L'OCCIDENT MEDIEVAL: CARACTERES ORIGINAUX Jacques Le Goff École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris



Cet exposé est davantage consacré au roi, à sa personne, à sa fonction, à son image qu'à la monarchie et il se contente d'effleurer les institutions et les pratiques monarchiques. Sans faire d'historiographie du sujet il faut souligner qu'il a déjà été abondamment traité, individuellement et collectivement, avec érudition et profondeur. Je voudrais saluer les noms de cinq grands disparus: Marc Bloch, Ernst Kantorowicz, Percy Ernst Schramm et, en ce lieu universitaire londonien, Walter Ullmann et J. M. WallaceHadrill. Parmi les vivants je voudrais seulement saluer un grand savant dont les travaux continuent d'éclairer la genèse de la monarchie chrétienne médiévale: Eugen Ewig. Il faut noter la discrétion de la bibliographie italienne sur ce thème, sans doute liée à l'absence pratique de royaume italien au Moyen Age. Comme toute histoire est de l'histoire contemporaine il me semble que l'intérêt pour la royauté médiévale est influencée par l'aspiration actuelle à l'histoire comparée et plus particulièrement européenne, dans le cadre de la construction de l'Europe, et au renouveau de l'histoire politique, une histoire politique faisant une place de plus en plus grande à l'histoire du symbolique et de l'imaginaire. Le fil conducteur de cet aperçu est la proposition que le roi médiéval est un personnage nouveau et spécifique de l'histoire, entre le vie et le xv1e siècle. Mais il faut souligner que ce personnage évo-

Jacques Le Goff


lue et change pendant cette longue période. Je distingue trois tournants: à l'époque carolingienne où le roi devient un roi oint et un roi ministériel, entre 1150 et 1250 où apparaît un roi administratif face à trois réalités, la couronne, le territoire et la loi, et à la fin de la période où le roi se trouve face à un État sacralisé qu'il s'efforce d'absorber. Il ne faut pas non plus oublier que le roi médiéval recueille des héritages de l' Antiquité, de l'Inde et du Moyen Orient à la monarchie hellénistique, de l'Ancien Testament à l'Empire romain, du monde celtique au monde germanique pré-médiévaux. Il relève aussi d'une structure fondamentale de pouvoir (Kingship) dont Hocart demeure à mes yeux le meilleur théoricien. Mais cet aspect structural n'empêche pas que le roi médiéval a été créé et a évolué dans des conditions historiques originales et dans un espace particulier, celui de la chrétienté latine médiévale se détachant de Byzance. Le souverain byzantin, dont le nom Basileus signifie d'ailleurs roi et non empereur comme nous le traduisons habituellement, est resté pendant tout le Moyen Age un point de référence pour les rois de l'Occident médiéval, à la fois dans l'imitation et dans l'opposition. Le roi médiéval a dû d'abord vaincre un handicap, la vieille haine du peuple romain pour le nomen regium. Cette haine s'était affaiblie sous l'Empire et disparaissait dans la seconde moitié du IVè siècle (on a noté la fréquence des adjectifs regius et regalis dans un sens laudatif dans l'Histoire Auguste) en particulier sous l'influence chrétienne qui marque une volonté de confondre rex et imperator. Mais le roi médiéval m'apparaît fondamentalement comme le produit d'une rupture et d'une innovation, c'est une des créations en matière politique de ce grand créateur qu'a été le Moyen Age. I





A. Les trois caractéristiques du roi médiéval Le roi médiéval m'apparaît essentiellement comme un roi monarque, un roi chrétien, un roi noble. i. Il y a, me semble-t-il, une unicité du pouvoir royal dans l'Occident médiéval. Les royaumes du Moyen Age ont à leur tête un roi

Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


unique et en tout cas seul supérieur. La royauté médiévale est sans partage malgré les expériences anglo-saxonnes de joint-king ship et le partage du royaume mérovingien entre les fils du roi créant des royaumes à roi unique à l'intérieur de la fiction d'une monarchie unitaire. Quand le roi, chez les Ottoniens, les Normands, et les Plantagenêts d'Angleterre, chez les premiers Capétiens, fait couronner ou sacrer un fils de son vivant, il garde la supériorité et la réalité d'un pouvoir unique. Mais cette unicité du pouvoir royal face aux structures de la stirps royale produit parfois de graves conflits entre le roi et ses fils ou entre les frères royaux, de l'Angleterre à la Castille. On peut relever un cas spécial: le royaume de France sous Saint Louis. Il me semble qu'après la régence de Blanche de Castille pendant l'enfance et la jeunesse du roi, même après son mariage en 1234, année de ses vingt ans, Louis a partagé le pouvoir avec sa mère et il s'agit là d'un cas rare et très particulier de joint-kingship. Il a par ailleurs existé des rapports particuliers entre Louis IX et ses frères au point que Beryl Smalley a pu écrire: 'Louis IX and bis brothers ruled as a kind of fratemal junto'. Cette appréciation me parait exagérée et inexacte mais souligne malgré tout une attitude originale des enfants de Louis VIII dans la pratique de leurs responsabilités royales ou princières. ii. Le caractère de roi chrétien est sans doute l'aspect le plus nouveau et le plus important du roi médiéval. Son fondement idéologique ultime doit résider dans le passage du polythéisme antique au monothéisme. Le roi est l'image de Dieu: rex imago Dei. Déjà dans les débuts de l'historiographie chrétienne au IVe siècle avec Eusèbe, Constantin est appelé imago Dei. C'est surtout avec le Christ que le roi médiéval développe des relations particulières. Ces relations proviennent d'abord du caractère royal accordé très tôt au Christ par le christianisme. Ce Christus rex est un rex gloriae mais comme le souligne le Nouveau Testament quand il parle du royaume offert aux désirs des fidèles, ce royaume et cette royauté ne sont pas de ce monde. Il en résulte une des ambivalences fondamentales de la royauté chrétienne médiévale, la tension entre les royaumes terrestres et le royaume céleste. Cette tension a sous-tendu l'image de certains rois médiévaux, l'image d'un roi messianique. Selon W. Ullmann le souverain carolingien exerce une 'co-regency with Christ'. D'autre part le caractère chrétien du roi médiéval enrichira son image d'im-


Jacques Le Goff

portantes références bibliques qui se concrétiseront souvent dans des thèmes iconographiques. C'est d'abord dans une perspective de symbolisme typologique la désignation des rois de l'histoire médiévale comme des doubles de rois de l'Ancien Testament. Le modèle le plus utilisé est celui de David. Charlemagne, par exemple, est un nouveau David, mais Saint Louis pour sa part est un nouveau Josias. Le roi médiéval hérite de l'Ancien Testament une double image. D'une part celle du roi mais aussi celle du grand prêtre qui porte des vêtements de type royal dont le roi médiéval s'approprie certaines caractéristiques, par exemple la couleur jacynthe de son manteau inspirera dans la France capétienne le bleu, couleur royale. Une autre image, venue celle-là du Nouveau Testament, est celle des Rois Mages, les magi reges sont un des prototypes des rois médiévaux. L'image de l'entrée du Christ à Jérusalem le jour des Rameaux inspirera la cérémonie des entrées royales dans les villes à la fin du Moyen Age. L'image traditionnelle du Christ comme médecin soutiendra aussi la croyance au roi thaumaturge. Pourtant, comme l'a montré Dom Jean Leclercq, la royauté du Christ n'a pas été un argument important dans la grande lutte entre le sacerdoce et l'empire et le personnage vétéro-testamentaire de Melchisédech, roi-prêtre que certains partisans de l'empereur ou de certains rois ont tenté d'exploiter, a été bloqué par l'Église médiévale. Cependant, quelle que soit pour le pouvoir et pour l'image du roi médiéval l'importance de cette référence à Dieu ou au Christ, cette importance a été dans le temps limitée par certaines réalités. Si le roi est à l'image de Dieu, il a des obligations et des limitations. A partir de l'époque carolingienne c'est un roi ministériel lié par son office, son devoir de fonction qui l'oblige à être un défenseur de la foi et de son peuple mais respectueux de l'Église et dépendant d'elle. L'affaire Thomas Becket a illustré de façon exemplaire cette situation. Roi couronné par Dieu (Rex a Deo coronatus), le roi doit toutefois pour être pleinement reconnu avoir été béni par l'Église dont la benedictio devient une consecratio. D'autre part, l'image du Christ et parallèlement celle du roi, a évolué au cours du Moyen Age. D'abord roi vainqueur de la mort au matin de Pâques ou sur la croix du Vendredi Saint, le Christ est devenu un roi crucifié, un roi souffrant, un 'king of sorrows' et on pourrait doubler le thème christologique du bas

Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


Moyen Age de /'ecce homo par un ecce rex, de Saint Louis à Richard Il. Cependant l'iconographie royale médiévale a aussi développé de l'Espagne à la Hongrie, l'image d'une cour céleste de saintes et de saints autour du Christ et de la Vierge qui subliment les cours terrestres en formation du XIIe au XVe siècle. D · autre part, certains rois chercheront à s' accaparer officiellement ce caractère chrétien. Le roi de France, prétextant du caractère miraculeux de l'huile avec laquelle il est sacré à Reims, prétend à une supériorité sur les autres rois chrétiens et se fait appeler christianissimus qui devient un titre officiel et diplomatique au xve siècle. De même à la fin du xve siècle les rois d'Espagne, après la fin de la Reconquista et l'unification des Espagne, se font reconnaître comme rois catholiques. Enfin, on peut souligner que l'idéologie chrétienne de l'espace se retrouve dans la place du roi dans la société. Pour Hocart le roi dans une société monarchique est central. Dans le christianisme où le système dominant de l'orientation de l'espace et l'opposition entre un haut valorisé et un bas déprécié la place du roi est plutôt en haut, au-dessus. Le roi médiéval est ainsi pris dans un système hiérarchique dont la théorie est constituée dès le haut Moyen Age par la théologie dionysienne. Quand à partir du xne siècle se diffuse la théorie organique, corporelle, de la société, décrivant la société comme un corps humain, ainsi que le dit John of Salisbury, le roi est la tête de ce corps social. Mais à l'occasion la place symbolique du roi change. Lors de la grande querelle entre le roi de France Philippe le Bel et le pape Boniface VIII les partisans du pape ayant fait de celui-ci la tête de la Chrétienté, les partisans du roi en font le coeur et soutiennent la supériorité du coeur producteur et régulateur de sang dans la société sur la tête qui ne commanderait qu'au système nerveux. iii. Il faut aussi souligner que le roi médiéval est un roi noble. Selon Émile Benveniste la royauté indo-européenne se définit le long de deux lignes. La première se modèle sur le mot rex qui est celui qui étend en ligne droite garantissant à la fois une extension et une rectitude. Isidore de Séville dans cette ligne définira au vne siècle le roi médiéval par la phrase fameuse Rex a recte regendo. Le roi médiéval recueille ainsi l'héritage romain du bon gouvernement et en particulier la fonction de regere sacra, définir un pouvoir sacré et regere


Jacques Le Goff

fines, tracer le territoire royal qui sera le territoire national. Mais aussi une seconde voie se développe à partir du terme kuni qui signifie en gothique race, famille, qui donnera les mots king et Konig et s'apparente au mot latin gens. C'est l'homme bien né, l'homme noble et le roi médiéval recueille aussi cet héritage germain du sang. Il est défini non seulement par une bonne famille mais aussi en terme d'aristocratie et de noblesse. Tacite avait bien défini ce lien originel du roi à la noblesse en distinguant les rois (reges) des ducs ou chefs (duces). Il les distinguait ainsi dans l'ancienne société germanique: 'reges ex nobilitate sumunt' par opposition à 'duces ex virtute sumunt'. La noblesse fait les rois, la vertu, le courage fait les ducs. La phrase de Tacite nous invite à mettre une distinction de nature contrairement à ce qu'ont prétendu certains médiévistes entre les rois et les ducs dans le haut Moyen Age et à l'époque carolingienne. Au Moyen Age le roi est le roi du peuple tout entier, mais il reste toujours spécialement lié à la noblesse et il doit respecter les privilèges des nobles. La royauté elle-même s'affirme davantage à partir du XIVe siècle comme une royauté de sang où les descendants directs des rois constituent la catégorie supérieure des princes du sang. Quand un roi veut rabaisser des nobles au niveau de la justice commune il se heurte à une vive opposition: ainsi Saint Louis dans l'affaire du sire de Couci. Il y a même dans l'aristocratie médiévale une tendance qui voudrait rabaisser le roi, le réduire à n'être qu'un primus inter pares. Mais seul le roi a eu un caractère sacré. B. Roi, Empereur, Pape En théorie, le roi est au-dessous de l'empereur et du pape, mais il y a une double confusion entre le roi et l'empereur venu l'une du monde gréco-romain et l'autre de la conception chrétienne. Depuis le Jye siècle l'imperator est assimilé à un rex. L'évolution du pouvoir impérial et du pouvoir pontifical au Moyen Age joue en faveur de l'émancipation de l'image du roi et de son pouvoir de celle de l'empereur et de celle du pape. D'abord, l'empereur dans le processus de son élévation se dédouble en un roi d'Allemagne et un roi des Romains qui ne devient empereur que s'il réussit à se faire couronner par le pape à Rome, ce qui ne put se produire qu' assez rarement.

Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


D'autre part, le développement d'une hiérarchie parallèle entre clercs et laïcs a tendance, même si le pape revendique les deux glaives et ratione peccati la supériorité du spirituel sur le temporel, à le déplacer vers la hiérarchie ecclésiastique, à l'éloigner de la hiérarchie laïque. D'autre part, on retrouve dans le cérémonial des trois personnages des éléments qui les mettent tous les trois plus ou moins sur le même plan, tandis que d'autres prolongent la supériorité impériale ou pontificale. Par exemple, en ce qui concerne la couronne, l'empereur prétendra seul à pouvoir porter une couronne fermée symbolisant l'universalité de son pouvoir et il revendiquera également le monopole du globe qui en fait l'héritier de la monarchie ·cosmique antique. Le pape, de son côté, se singularisera par le port exclusif de la tiare et au début du XIVe siècle imposera son rehaussement de deux à trois étages. Le roi de France, de son côté, à partir de Saint Louis, se dotera d'une main de justice emblématique qui manifestera la prééminence de son pouvoir judiciaire. En ce qui concerne le trône, selon Schramm l'empereur n'en aurait fait un objet emblématique qu'à partir du xe siècle, mais Reinhardt Schneider a rappelé le trône (solium regale) des Mérovingiens et des premiers Carolingiens à une époque où Charlemagne n'avait pas restauré un empire chrétien en Occident. Quant au pape, selon Nikolas Gussone, c'est le pape Formose qui, à la fin du IXe siècle, aurait été le premier à en faire un signe du pouvoir pontifical. Il reste que le nom courant pour tous ces objets emblématiques qu'ils soient exhibés par les empereurs, les papes ou les rois, c'est regalia, et que la référence est donc pour tous la référence royale. Cependant, au cours du Moyen Age, même l'image royale des empereurs et des papes se détériore sous l'effet de deux phénomènes: d'une part le choix et des empereurs et des papes par l'élection et non par le sang. Ce procédé est évidemment obligatoire pour les clercs célibataires. Pour les empereurs, le mode électif triomphe malgré quelques brefs épisodes du principe dynastique. De ce principe électif découle la possibilité de double ou triple élection qui produit des empereurs et des papes simultanés et rivaux entre lesquels ne se décide que difficilement qui sera l'empereur ou le pontife légitime, l'anti-roi (puisqu'il s'agit d'une phase antérieure au couronnement impérial) ou l'anti-pape. Le grand scandale c'est, à partir de 1378 pour lapa-


Jacques Le Goff

pauté, le grand Schisme, tandis que, au siècle précédent, la mort de Frédéric II a été suivie par le grand Interrègne. Ces rivalités, ces vacances minent l'image et l'autorité de l'empereur et du pape. En revanche, il me semble que les rivalités à un titre royal ne mettent pas de la même façon en péril l'autorité royale. Par exemple, dans la France du début du xvesiècle, la prétention simultanée de l' Anglais Henri VI et du dauphin Charles VII a être roi de France ne mettra pas en péril au niveau symbolique l'image de la royauté française, le caractère unique du roi dépendant d'un événement et d'un critère que seul réussira Charles VII, le sacre à Reims. J'avance donc l'hypothèse que pour les hommes du Moyen Age le modèle incarné du pouvoir ce n'est pas l'empereur ou le pape, mais dans l'abstrait le roi, et concrètement, les rois. C. La légitimité du roi

L'élection, la désignation de son successeur par le souverain, son choix par Dieu, par le moyen d'une victoire militaire ou d'une conquête et la légitimité dynastique ont été les principales voies d'accession au pouvoir royal au Moyen Age. Passée l'époque tâtonnante de la constitution des royaumes dans le haut Moyen Age, les cas les plus délicats et pour l'historien, peut-être les plus intéressants, d'accession au trône se sont produits lors du passage d'une dynastie à une autre qui a nécessité la mise en oeuvre d'un processus de légitimation mettant en évidence les critères et les voies d'accession au pouvoir royal. Trois cas me paraissent particulièrement éclairants qui montrent que des arguments symboliques ont toujours été nécessaires à côté des arguments de fait nés de la force ou même des arguments purement juridiques. Dans tous ces cas le problème à résoudre est celui de ce qui est ressenti et présenté comme une usurpation. Le premier cas est celui du remplacement forcé des Mérovingiens par les Carolingiens. Les arguments avancés ont été ceux de la délégitimation des rois mérovingiens par leur incapacité à assumer les fonctions royales. Mais l'usurpation n'a véritablement été effacée que lorsque Pépin le Bref et ses fils, par une double onction épiscopale puis pontificale, ont acquis le caractère sacré imité de l'onction des rois d'Israël

Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


définie dans l'Ancien testament. Le second cas est celui du remplacement des Carolingiens par les Capétiens. L'argument avancé, variété de l'argument utilisé par les Carolingiens au VIIIe siècle, a été celui de la réalité du pouvoir. Hugues Capet tenait de fait le pouvoir qui avait échappé aux derniers Carolingiens. Il fallait passer du de facto au de jure. Mais la légitimité des Capétiens ne fut définitivement établie que lorsqu'ils purent se réclamer de la descendance biologique vis-à-vis des Carolingiens et plus particulièrement de Charlemagne. Ce fut le redditus ad stirpem Karoli obtenu seulement au tournant du xne au XIIIe siècle. Entre temps, un autre problème d'usurpation s'était posé à propos de la conquête de l'Angleterre par le normand Guillaume le Bâtard et par l'élimination de la dynastie anglosaxonne. La légitimation de l'usurpation de Guillaume devenu le Conquérant s'appuya essentiellement sur deux motifs, l'un de nature féodale délégitimant Harold par son manquement à son serment de vassal, l'autre de nature militaire invoquant le vieux droit de conquête signe de la volonté divine. Cet épisode a produit un objet exceptionnel de légitimation, la broderie dite tapisserie de Bayeux. Mais la préparation politique et idéologique de Guillaume le Bâtard, comme on a pu le montrer, a débordé ces deux motifs et a donné lieu à la constitution d'un dossier juridique très développé. L'accession à la royauté s'est aussi souvent appuyée sur la possession d'un lieu ou d'un objet de caractère symbolique et sacré. Si le roi médiéval, en fonction des traditions indo-européennes, a montré et conforté son pouvoir en constituant, presque en sécrétant autour de sa personne, un territoire dont il sera le garant en vertu de l'inaliénabilité du royaume dans le haut Moyen Age, ce fut plus souvent le territoire qui fit le roi. Au xve siècle encore, Charles VII, avant le sacre décisif de Reims, ne jouit en tant que roi de Bourges que d'une légitimité inférieure à celle du prétendant anglais, roi de Paris. Comme on le voit, en France peut-être surtout mais aussi dans les autres royaumes, les sacres ou couronnements, la remise des regalia eurent comme but d'asseoir la légitimité du nouveau roi et de la manifester. En fait, surtout dans le haut Moyen Age, l'accession à la royauté d'un nouveau roi résultait de la combinaison de plusieurs de ces critères.


Jacques Le Goff

Un critère joua un rôle de moins en moins grand, celui du droit à la couronne conféré par une victoire militaire. Même dans le cas de Charles d'Anjou au XIIIe siècle, si les victoires de Bénévent et de Tagliacozzo lui permirent de devenir effectivement roi de Sicile, il avait déjà été couronné par le pape à Rome le 6 Janvier 1266, un peu plus d'un mois avant Bénévent. Édouard III avant de bénéficier des victoires de Crécy et de Poitiers se présenta comme roi de France légitime en fonction du droit dynastique, et Henri V ne se contenta pas d' Agincourt mais fonda sur un article du traité de Troyes l'occupation du trône français. La victoire était désacralisée. Le Christ-roi n'était plus un dieu des armées mais un dieu vaincu en ce monde sur la croix, triomphateur de la mort et non des hommes. La l,égitimité s'acquérait désormais selon deux critères qui se séparaient de plus en plus. D'un côté, on l'a vu, l'élection qui était obligatoirement la règle pour le pape, le devint en fait pour l'empereur, isolant encore davantage le pape et l'empereur des rois. Si, dans l'Europe du Centre et de l'Est, le principe électif triompha le plus souvent du principe dynastique, ailleurs celui-ci s'imposa peu à peu et se précisa sous la forme de la succession en faveur des enfants royaux mâles et par primogéniture même si en France, où le principe fut le plus rigoureusement appliqué,-ailleurs les femmes sans succéder elles-mêmes pouvaient transmettre à leurs descendants mâles le droit à la couronne-il ne fut défini par ordonnance royale que sous Charles V dans la seconde moitié du XIVe siècle. Le succès du principe dynastique allait de pair avec le succès croissant de la famille agnatique. Le principe familial du sang porté à son comble par la nouvelle idéologie du sang, malgré les avatars du hasard biologique qui fit mourir sans héritier mâle les trois fils de Philippe le Bel, s'impose de façon exemplaire dans la France du bas Moyen Age où le roi est entouré par les princes du sang, où 'fils de roi de France', devient un titre prestigieux entraînant préséance immédiatement après le frère aîné devenu roi. Déjà au milieu du XIIIe siècle Saint Louis avait répondu au pape Innocent IV qui lui offrait la couronne impériale pour un de ses frères que celui-ci se contenterait aisément du titre de fils de roi de France qui valait bien le titre impérial.

Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


Dans cette évolution l'approbation des grands et du populus est devenue une formalité, une formule vide et automatique. Lors du sacre des rois de France l'appel à l'assentiment du peuple est devenu un moment faible de la cérémonie dont les temps forts sont l'investiture, l'onction, la remise des regalia, le couronnement et l'intronisation. D. Le roi et le pouvoir Quelle est donc la nature du pouvoir de ce roi? Il se définit par les principes romains de l'auctoritas et de la potestas. Mais il se manifeste plus encore par deux autres principes fortement marqués par le christianisme: la dignitas liée à / 'officium royal (sur le modèle des dignitates ecclésiastiques) et conférée par le sacre ; la majestas d'origine romaine dont E. Ewig a noté la réapparition en 801 mais qui ne s'affirmera qu'à partir des xne-x111e siècles. La référence à la majestas justifiera à la fois la diffusion du crimen majestatis, le crime de lèse-majesté et l'exercice du droit de grâce. C'est le pardon royal que l'on aperçoit aussi bien en Castille qu'en France où au XIVe-xve siècle il prend la forme des lettres de rémission. Dans la France du XIIIesiècle on dit déjà 'votre majesté' au roi de France. La majesté royale est fortement marquée par l'image fréquente dans l'art roman et gothique de Dieu ou du Christ en majesté. Enfin le roi médiéval est en marche vers la souveraineté qui ne trouve pas dans l'arsenal juridique romain d'expression adéquate, imperium ayant d'autres connotations historiques et idéologiques. Cette souveraineté s'affirme par exemple en France au XIIIe siècle entre la lettre d'innocent III de 1202 admettant que le roi de France ne reconnait pas de supérieur en son royaume et l'affirmation des légistes de Philippe le Bel: rex est imperator in regno suo qui a de puissants échos dans les autres royaumes. Cette notion de souveraineté s'impose dans les faits surtout avec l'aide du droit canonique et elle est une création du Moyen Age. On a pu se demander si le roi médiéval est un roi constitutionnel ou un roi absolu. Joseph Strayer et Bryce Lyon ont évoqué à propos de Philippe le Bel l'hypothèse d'un roi constitutionnel. Il me parait


Jacques Le Goff

impossible en dehors de tout texte explicite, même s'agissant de la magna carta anglaise, de parler de constitution au Moyen Age et par conséquent de roi constitutionnel. Mais quelle que soit l'importance de la marche du roi du bas Moyen Age vers l'absolutisme le roi médiéval m'apparaît comme un roi contractuel qui a pris des engagements vis-à-vis de Dieu, de l'Église et du peuple, notamment lors des serments du sacre ou du couronnement. Par ailleurs, malgré les déclarations contradictoires des juristes sur la soumission ou la non-soumission du roi à la loi, la conception dominante et en théorie et en pratique est que le roi médiéval est lié par la loi. Il faut, je crois, comme l'a fait Walter Ullmann, insister sur les limitations du pouvoir royal. Il faut y ajouter la solidarité avec la noblesse que les membres de celle-ci ont constamment réclamée. Dans les progrès de la limitation des pouvoirs du roi il est intéressant de voir l'évolution de certains des engagements pris lors du sacre de la promesse au serment. Il. LES MODELES ROY AUX A. Le roi idéal: les miroirs des princes

Je n'insisterai pas sur cette littérature normative née dans l' Antiquité aussi bien hébraïque qu'hellénistique ou chrétienne ni sur ces miroirs assez bien connus. Je me contenterai de souligner l'importance bien mise en valeur en particulier par Anton de la période carolingienne et le rôle du Policraticus (1159) de John of Salisbury à un tournant de l'idéal et de la pratique monarchiques. Le XIIIe siècle est un grand siècle de miroirs des princes comme l'a montré Berges. Sverre Bagge a étudié la signification pour les royaumes nordiques du speculum regale norvégien. Cinq miroirs des princes ont été composés dans la France de Saint Louis pour le roi ou les membres de la famille royale. L'influence aristotélicienne se fait sentir dans les miroirs des princes avec Thomas d'Aquin et surtout Gilles de Rome mais seulement après 1270. Les miroirs des princes restent nombreux et intéressants au bas Moyen Age comme l'ont notamment montré pour la France Krynen et pour l'Espagne Nieto Soria.

Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


Je me contenterai de deux remarques. Le chapitre XVII du Deuteronome constitue un miroir des princes biblique qui a beaucoup inspiré les miroirs des princes médiévaux. Par exemple le franciscain Gilbert de Tournai pour Saint Louis en 1259. Les ordines du sacre et du couronnement et les cérémonies qu'ils décrivent ou règlent ont constitué des miroirs des princes en acte. Les principales vertus du roi médiéval chrétien idéal sont: obéir à Dieu et servir l'Église; assurer la justice et la paix à son peuple; pourvoir à ses besoins. Dans ce dernier cas un certain nombre de concepts doivent inspirer l'action du roi: ceux de necessitas, d'utilitas et de commoditas. Ces principes qui définissent le roi idéal ou au moins le bon roi conduisent à examiner les rapports du roi médiéval avec le système trifonctionnel indo-européen défini par Georges Dumézil.

B. Le roi trifonctionnel Cette structure de pensée indo-européenne s'est affirmée, comme on sait, dans l'idéologie médiévale avec notamment le roi Alfred dans l'Angleterre anglo-saxonne et l'évêque Adalbéron de Laon au début de la monarchie capétienne. On a récemment souligné l'importance de l'école d'Auxerre au JXe-xe siècle. La trifonctionnalité a été également repérée dans la littérature notamment l'épopée, la chanson de geste, comme l'a fait Joël Grisward, disciple de Georges Dumézil. Cette trifonctionnalité a été explicitement rapportée au roi et cela est particulièrement frappant dans le cas d'Alfred. L'essentiel me parait être que dans l'Occident médiéval les rois ne sont pas comme dans les anciennes sociétés indo-européennes des rois de la première, de la deuxième ou de la troisième fonction, mais réunissent en eux les trois fonctions. C'est la conséquence de l'image chrétienne du monarque dans le cadre du monothéisme appliqué au gouvernement terrestre. Dans le domaine de la première fonction, la fonction juridico-sacrée, des limitations sont apportées au pouvoir royal, d'une part par l'Église qui barre la route au rex-sacerdos, le roi médiéval est un laïc, et d'autre part par les institutions judiciaires dont le fonctionnement


Jacques Le Goff

se développe dans une relative indépendance par rapport au pouvoir royal. La fonction guerrière, la seconde, est la plus évidente, mais elle subit une évolution. Elle se manifeste par exemple dans le dépérissement de la victoire militaire comme source et justification du pouvoir royal. On le voit dans l'évolution de la terminologie de Philippe Auguste longtemps appelé Philippe le Conquérant puis Philippe Auguste, ce qui est à la fois une référence à l' Antiquité et une référence à l'accroissement du domaine royal plus qu'à la conquête. De même sous Philippe le Bel le juriste relativement isolé Pierre Dubois écrira d'une façon symptomatique que le roi et ses fils ne doivent pas s'aventurer sur le champ de bataille pour ne pas être tués ou faits . . pnsonmers. La troisième fonction est la plus difficile à définir. On peut tenter de la décrire s'agissant du roi comme une fonction de prospérité. L'image royale de la troisième fonction change et s'affaiblit relativement. On évoque de moins en moins le rex agricola qui fait pousser ou repousser les moissons sur son passage: c'était le cas de Dagobert III dans une version carolingienne de sa vita. On retrouve cette image à propos de Philippe Auguste dans les miracles qui lui furent attribués lors de la constitution d'une sorte de dossier de sainteté. Le thème a peut-être duré plus longtemps en Europe centrale, en Pologne et en Bohème notamment, ou parait jusque dans l'iconographie l'image du roi à la charrue. Le roi exerce cette fonction dans le domaine de la monnaie où elle se combine avec la première fonction à l'intérieur du monopole royal de la monnaie. Elle se manifeste aussi dans le rôle royal de protection des marchands. De façon générale, le roi médiéval fonctionne à l'intérieur du système d'une société fondée sur le don/contre don. Cet aspect de la troisième fonction royale connait d'importants développements au cours du Moyen Age sous la double image du roi aumônier et du roi dépensier. Un texte offre un exemple particulièrement frappant de la position du roi médiéval face aux trois fonctions. Il s'agit du texte illustré de la chronique anglaise de John of Worcester du xne siècle (Ms. Oxford, Corpus Christi College, 157). C'est le récit d'un cauchemar

Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


du roi d'Angleterre Henri Jer qui dans son rêve se voit menacé d' abord par des évêques et abbés munis de crosses, puis par des nobles et des chevaliers armés et enfin par des paysans le menaçant de leurs bâches et de leurs outils. C. Un roi cérémoniel: symbolisme et rituel royal

Je renvoie ici encore aux nombreux et beaux travaux qui ont été écrits, en particulier pour le Haut Moyen Age, à ceux de Schramm, Bournan, R. Elze pour l'empereur et la Sicile, Erich Hoffmann pour la Scandinavie, Gieysztor pour la Pologne, Gussone pour la papauté, et Bernhard Schimmelpfennig pour les papes d'Avignon. Pour les funérailles on connait les belles études de Giesey et d'Elisabeth Brown, Jean-Claude Bonne et moi-même avons présenté l'ordo français dit de 1250. J'insisterai sur un problème de méthode: il faut respecter le caractère de sources spécifiques des sources liturgiques. Bournan avait à cet effet adressé des reproches mérités à Schramm et à la Diplomforschung. Dans ces rituels il faut souligner l'importance de l'onction. Le cas le plus éclatant est celui de l'exploitation de la Sainte Ampoule par le roi de France. Te6filo Ruiz a étudié la cas de la Castille, celui d'une royauté sans sacre, sauf circonstances exceptionnelles. A propos des sacres impériaux, Robert Folz éclairant ainsi un des aspects de perte de prestige de l'Empereur écrit: 'la réalité des sacres impériaux porte la double marque de l'incertitude et de l'irrégularité'. Dans ces rites les signes symboliques ont une importance toute particulière: c'est l'émergence des fleurs de lys en France à travers lesquels Anne Lombard-Jourdan a cru reconnaître l'image d'un roi soleil dès le Moyen Age. Michel Pastoureau a d'autre part noté l' appropriation de la couleur bleu symbolique par la monarchie française. Sur l'exemple de la France, le plus important me parait être la constitution à la fin du Moyen Age d'un système cérémoniel qui encacre et qui scande la vie des rois: le sacre ou le couronnement, les joyeuses entrées, le lit de justice, enfin les funérailles. Un phénomène qui a donné lieu à discussion est celui de l'inertie des rituels. Janet Nelson l'a mise en valeur en étudiant 'The rites of


Jacques Le Goff

the Conqueror' et Elze à propos du rituel de Sicile. David Sturdy a fait l'historique de la dialectique 'continuity versus change'. Richard Jackson étudiant le sacre des rois de France a, en revanche, souligné, les modifications du rituel, mais ces modifications me semblent secondaires sinon franchement mineures. Ce sont le conservatisme et l'archaïsme qui me semblent l' emporter dans le fonctionnement des rituels royaux tout au long du Moyen Age et au moins jusqu'à la Révolution française, en France et dans les autres monarchies chrétiennes. Ce que doivent en effet non seulement illustrer mais réaliser les rites d'inauguration royale, c'est recommencer l'origine du royaume. Ces rituels sont des rituels d'immobilisation de l'Histoire: le roi est un protecteur et un garant du passé, c'est un gage de stabilité pour le présent et l'avenir.


Le roi et la religion: Rex sacer, rex sacerdos, rex sanctus

Il faut, je crois, distinguer entre le roi sacré dont la personne et la fonction sont de nature surnaturelle, le roi prêtre ou roi ecclésiastique qui occuperait une place évidemment éminente dans la hiérarchie ecclésiastique, le roi thaumaturge accomplissant des miracles sans être à proprement parler un saint et enfin le roi saint, soit qu'il s' agisse d'un roi proclamé saint par la vox populi et reconnu par l'Église, soit qu'il s'agisse d'un roi officiellement canonisé par l'Église. Il faut écarter de cette variété de roi religieux le roi simplement appelé saint en raison de sa piété. Le roi médiéval est un laïc. L'Église y insiste. Malgré le penchant de certains à les hausser au-dessus de cette qualité de laïc. Par exemple le cardinal Jean Le Moine, au temps de Philippe le Bel, assure: 'les rois qui sont oints ne tiennent pas à ce qu'il semble le rôle de purs laïcs, ils le dépassent'. Mais il s'agit ici d'une image qui relève presque de la métaphore, non d'un statut reconnu. Sans doute le roi est sacré mais il l'est non par son appartenance à une famille sacrée ou par la nature de sa fonction, il est sacré par l'Église et par une cérémonie religieuse. Dans le cas du roi de France, l'onction étant faite avec un chrême prétendu divin, conservé dans une ampoule considérée comme miraculeuse, le roi s'approche mais sans y parvenir vraiment d'un caractère proprement sacré. Quant au roi prêtre,

Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


dont le type biblique est celui de Melchisedech, dont la statue apparaît à la cathédrale de Reims, c'est une revendication qui n'a jamais été admise par l'Église. Elle a été au centre du grand conflit entre le pape et l'Empereur, le Sacerdoce et l'Empire, tel qu'il apparaît dans l'énorme littérature des libelli de lite. Sans doute, lors du sacre le roi semble acquérir quelques caractères cléricaux, il reçoit l'onction sur la tête, comme un évêque et il porte sur son bras la chasuble relevée comme un prêtre. Enfin il communie comme les prêtres sous les deux espèces, mais ce geste est unique, jamais renouvelé et l'onction royale demeure fondamentalement différente de l'ordination sacerdotale ou épiscopale. Quant aux rois faiseurs de miracles, aux rois thaumaturges, ils ont eu de la difficulté à institutionnaliser leurs vertus thaumaturgiques. Ne suivant pas sur ce point Marc Bloch qui voyait les rois de France guérir les écrouelles dès le x1e siècle, j'ai essayé de montrer que cette reconnaissance n'a été définitive qu'à partir de Saint Louis, en France, de même que Frank Barlow montrait qu'en Angleterre Henri III était le premier à bénéficier pleinement de cette vertu thaumaturgique. Encore faut-il souligner que la vertu reconnue à ces rois est très limitée. Elle ne concerne qu'une seule maladie, les écrouelles ou adénite tuberculeuse. Elle ne se produit que certains jours, en certains lieux et elle est conférée non dynastiquement, non par la naissance mais par le sacre. Ce pouvoir thaumaturgique cautionné par l'image du Christ médec;n se rencontre sous des formes diverses. En Castille par exemple le roi a eu parfois le pouvoir de guérir les possédés du démon, c'est un roi exorciste. Il faut par ailleurs remarquer I'inversion qui se produit en faveur du roi médiéval de la conception antique de la 'maladie royale', le 'morbus regius' qui était soit lajaunisse soit la lèpre s'inverse en quelque sorte pour faire du roi non la victime mais le guérisseur de maladies spéciales. S'agissant du roi saint il faut noter comme l'ont bien montré Graus, Vauchez et Folz que la sainteté de certains rois dépend de l'évolution de l'idée de sainteté. Dans le haut Moyen Age le personnage du roi souffre-passion est prédominant. Autour de I' An Mil la sainteté est volontiers conférée au roi convertisseur de peuple, c'est le cas des rois scandinaves, de saint Étienne de Hongrie. Enfin le roi, presque comme les autres saints est reconnu comme saint en fonction


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autant de ses vertus personnelles que de ses miracles et à l'issue d'un procès de canonisation. Seul Louis IX de France (Saint Louis) bénéficiera de cette évolution. Ferdinand III roi de Castille et de Léon de 1230 à 1252 ne sera canonisé qu'en 1671, ce n'est pas un saint roi médiéval. Il faut enfin souligner que l'Église médiévale a absolument refusé toute divinisation du roi. L'expression 'religion royale' qui a été utilisée par exemple dans le cas français ne peut être employée que d'un point de vue métaphorique et me parait contestable. Janet Nelson a très bien commenté une scène éclairante racontée dans la Vira Lanfranci. Guillaume le Conquérant étant à table avec l'archevêque Lanfranc, regarde un bouffon, un scurra qui s'écrie: 'Ecce deum video'. Lanfranc demande à Guillaume de faire fouetter le bouffon. Il resterait à étudier les circonstances dans lesquelles est apparu le personnage du bouffon, double carnavalesque du roi. III. ANTHROPOLOGIE ROYAL


A. Le temps royal: le roi et le temps

Le roi se situe dans une chaîne historique. C'est le plus souvent une chaîne dynastique, le roi invoquant antecessores ou praedecessores nostri. Comme l'a montré Andrew Lewis les rois ont institué un véritable jeu politique entre leurs prédécesseurs et leurs successeurs

(successores, heredes). Il y a aussi un temps du pouvoir, celui-ci se situe évidemment entre le moment de l'accession au trône et la mort ou éventuellement le renoncement au pouvoir ou la destitution. Le principal problème ici est celui de l'âge de la minorité éventuelle des rois. En France cet âge était fixé à 14 ans, mais Louis IX par exemple n'a vraiment exercé la plénitude du pouvoir royal qu'à 20 ans et encore, cas exceptionnel, la reine mère et régente Blanche de Castille semble avoir exercé avec son fils une sorte de co-royauté jusqu'à sa mort en 1252. Sous Charles VI la majorité pour des raisons circonstancielles sera abaissée à 13 ans.

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L'âge de la mort est évidemment également important, c'est le temps du hasard biologique royal. Il détermine la longueur des règnes. Même les rois au Moyen Age meurent en général relativement jeunes, mais d'Hugues Capet à Saint Louis les rois de France sont souvent morts entre 50 et 60 ans. Un autre temps royal est celui de la chancellerie. C'est de lui que dépend la datation des actes royaux. Le problème dans des sociétés où le roi a un rôle si important de garant des liens de son peuple avec Dieu est de réduire au minimum le temps du vide entre les règnes. En France apparaît sous Louis VII pour devenir régulier par la suite l'habitude de dater les actes d'un nouveau roi non de son sacre mais de la mort de son prédécesseur. On aboutira ainsi à la formule à la fin du Moyen Age: le roi est mort, vive le roi. Ce qui en latin se dit d'une façon à la fois plus juridique et plus symbolique: rex numquam moritur. Le temps royal est aussi celui de l'emploi du temps quotidien. Sans vivre encore selon l'étiquette journalière qui sera celle des rois des temps modernes, le roi médiéval à mesure qu'il devient un rouage de l'État a tendance à observer une suite régulière d'activités chaque jour. Pour les rois de France le premier exemple documenté que l'on a est celui de Charles V dont Christine de Pisan a raconté la journée. Le temps royal est aussi celui des trajets et des déplacements. Le roi se déplace à la fois par tradition, par nécessité et par politique. Par tradition parce que malgré le développement de capitales le roi médiéval reste fondamentalement un itinérant. La nécessité itinérante qui s'impose à lui est aussi celle du chef de guerre qui doit sinon tous les printemps du moins souvent pendant son règne prendre le chemin de l'expédition militaire. C'est aussi à partir du moment où le royaume devient une réalité territoriale autant qu'humaine et spirituelle, la nécessité de se montrer à son peuple dans les régions éloignées de son siège habituel. Dans la France du bas Moyen Age il y aura ainsi une certaine régularité des campagnes contre les Anglais dans la France de l'Ouest, en Flandre aussi (l'ost de Flandre) et les voyages dans le Midi, terre longtemps à demi étrangère. Le roi aussi est itinérant parce qu'il va souvent en pèlerinage et le roi pèlerin a été


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au xne et XIIIe siècle un roi croisé sur les chemin terrestres ou maritimes de l'Outre-mer. Le temps que passait le roi à se déplacer le plus souvent à cheval entraînait un remaniement de son emploi du temps quotidien habituel. Le biographe de Saint Louis, Guillaume de Saint-Pathus, a soigneusement noté comment le roi 'quand il chevauchait' conservait en les modifiant ses habitudes de dévotion. Il y a aussi les voyages des rois à l'étranger en dehors de leur royaume qui sont de plus en plus codifiés par des coutumes diplomatiques. Quand, en 1254, Henri III d'Angleterre souhaite, en venant de ses possessions dans le sud-ouest de la France, se rendre à l'abbaye de Fontevraud en Anjou qui est la nécropole de ses ancêtres Plantagenêts, il demande à Saint Louis l'autorisation de traverser le royaume de France et cette traversée est l'occasion d'une rencontre ayant une importante signification politique. Le temps des trajets royaux est aussi celui de la vitesse avec laquelle les informations parviennent au roi. Si le roi est longtemps un destinataire privilégié de nouvelles, s'il est informé en un temps record pour l'époque, il n'aura pas le monopole de ce temps de l'information à côté du temps d'information des réseaux monastiques. A partir du XIIIe siècle une nouvelle catégorie prendra une place de premier plan dans la maîtrise du temps des nouvelles, celle des marchands. Mais à la fin du Moyen Age le roi organise en général de mieux en mieux un corps de messagers royaux. A côté de ces temps longs, de ces temps réguliers, il y a le temps des événements, le temps exceptionnel des divertissements royaux. C'est le temps des fêtes, le temps des sacres et des adoubements, en particulier de la 'chevalerie' des fils de rois, temps des banquets royaux. Ce temps des fêtes royales est souvent celui des fêtes aristocratiques lui-même héritier de vieilles traditions païennes. Une date à cet égard joue un rôle particulier dans le calendrier royal, c'est la Pentecôte, quarante jours après Pâques. Ce temps royal exceptionnel est aussi pour les rois d'Angleterre et de France celui des jours où ils 'touchent les écrouelles'. Enfin par delà le roi il y a le temps de l'état monarchique. Il s'incarne dans les horloges mécaniques monumentales. A Paris l'horloge du Palais Royal existe de puis Philippe le Bel et à partir de Charles V

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elle indique le temps officiel pour tout le royaume. Le roi a proclamé sa maîtrise sur le temps collectif du royaume. B. Les lieux royaux: le roi et l'espace

Selon Hocart 'la cité n'a pas été créée dans un but défensif, commercial ou social mais parce que c'est le demeure du roi'. Émile Benveniste a rappelé que le roi est celui qui trace l'espace de la cité et Janus Banaszkiewicz a bien montré que le pouvoir des chefs préchrétiens qui allaient se transformer en rois était situé dans des lieux sacrés le plus souvent marqués par des hauteurs, des pierres, des arbres, un site naturel sacré. Le lieu du couronnement est en général un lieu royal ayant depuis longtemps ou ayant peu à peu acquis un caractère à la fois traditionnel et extraordinaire. C'est ainsi que s'est difficilement affirmé dans la France médiévale le succès de Reims sur Orléans, Sens ou d'autres lieux. Cette fixité d'un lieu d'inauguration du pouvoir n'est pas toujours atteinte: en Scandinavie il n'y avait pas de lieu fixe du couronnement. Les lieux de résidence du roi sont des lieux chargés d'un symbolisme exceptionnel. Ce sont à la fois des palais où domine la fonction de résidence et des châteaux, où l'emporte la fonction de défense car telle est en gros l'évolution des châteaux royaux comme de l'ensemble des châteaux, un lent passage de la défense à la résidence. Certains ensembles (palacium ou castrum) ont eu une importance particulière pour les rois médiévaux. C'est le cas des Pfalzen pour les empereurs d'Allemagne, des châteaux castillans pour les rois de Castille, des châteaux à la frontière galloise pour les rois d' Angleterre. La domination de Frédéric II en Italie du Sud s'appuie sur un réseau de châteaux dont le plus célèbre est Castel del Monte. Après Philippe Auguste et Saint Louis, Philippe le Bel fait du Palais Royal de Paris le véritable centre du pouvoir. Le jardin des palais royaux joue aussi un grand rôle. Pour les rois de France, celui de Paris est le lieu de l'adoubement des fils royaux, de l'hommage des grands vassaux, Saint Louis a rendu celui de son palais suburbain de Vincennes célèbre en y exerçant la justice.


Jacques Le Goff

L'évolution qui parait normale de la résidence royale a tendance à faire apparaître des lieux qui sont à la fois la résidence habituelle d'un roi de plus en plus sédentaire et le siège des organes du pouvoir royal en train de se transformer en état monarchique: ce sont des capitales. Le cas français est un des plus typiques. Anne LombardJourdan a montré la longue ascension de Paris vers le statut de capitale. A partir du xne siècle, Paris devient la tête d'un système de capitales royales. Le titre caput regni ne désigne pas seulement Paris mais Saint-Denis aussi où sont conservés les insignes royaux, le regalia et où se trouve la nécropole des rois. Il y faut ajouter Reims qui conserve la Sainte Ampoule et où a lieu le sacre. Eugen Ewig et Carl Richard Brühl ont montré la tendance des royaumes du haut Moyen Age à construire des capitales mais aussi la fragilité de celles-ci. Presque chaque royaume représente un cas particulier mais avec toujours l'effort pour faire émerger un petit nombre de capitales et si possible une seule capitale. En Espagne les progrès de la Reconquista ont fait surgir un système de deux capitales, Tolède et Séville. En Pologne, la capitale religieuse de Gniezno n'a pu empêcher la capitale politique de se situer dans le Sud à Cracovie. Un cas tout à fait particulier est celui de Rome. La ville est théoriquement et symboliquement la capitale des deux pouvoirs monarchiques suprêmes de la Chrétienté, l'Empereur et le Pape, mais aussi bien la situation excentrique de la ville dans la Chrétienté que la turbulence des habitants de Rome ont fait que la ville n'a souvent pas pu jouer son rôle de capitale. Même en se limitant au séjour de leur couronnement beaucoup d'empereurs n'ont pu aller à Rome, et les papes ont passé plus de temps dans d'autres villes italiennes telles que Viterbe ou Orvieto ou à l'étranger. Et pourtant, la papauté n'a pu maintenir au XIVe siècle Avignon comme capitale. La force de Rome comme capitale symbolique lui a fait retrouver son rôle de capitale réelle mais d'un seul souverain, le pape. Les monastères royaux ont constitué d'autres lieux royaux très importants, soit dans le soutien qu'ils ont pu apporter à tel candidat royal dans l'accession au trône, soit dans le rôle de mémoire historiographique, dynastique et nationale qu'ils ont pu jouer, soit enfin comme lieu de résidence posthume temporaire puis définitive comme nécropole royale. Dans la France de I' An Mil, trois monastères au-

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raient pu prétendre à un rôle éminent comme monastère royal, Tours, Fleury sur la Loire près d'Orléans et Saint-Denis. Saint Denis lié au succès de Paris l'a emporté et est devenu l'exemple le plus éclatant de monastère royal. La royauté anglaise a bénéficié d'un réseau de monastères d'un autre type avec Westminster, sorte de Saint-Denis urbain intégré dans la capitale politique, Saint Alban, centre historiographique, Glastonbury, centre d'élaboration de légendes traditionnelles et de spiritualité nationale. Pendant un temps le monastère de Las Huelgas en Haute Castille aux portes de Burgos a joué le rôle de monastère royal pour la royauté castillane. Mais dans la péninsule ibérique à la multiplicité des royaumes chrétiens et aux péripéties de la Reconquista ont correspondu une multiplication de monastères royaux. Il ne faudrait enfin pas oublier les lieux imaginaires de résidence de rois légendaires. Ces résidences imaginaires peuvent permettre d'évoquer le passé de l'idéologie royale. Ainsi les lieux arthuriens évoluent entre des forêts primitives comme celle de Brocéliande et une île de l'au-delà comme celle d'Avalon évoquant le passé sauvage de la royauté et son destin eschatologique. Un lieu royal particulièrement important est celui de la chapelle royale ou impériale très bien étudiée par Fleckenstein qui est une véritable institution et qui n'est pas seulement destinée à permettre au roi d'accomplir ses dévotions de la façon la plus complète et la plus ample mais qui confère au pouvoir royal un privilège spectaculaire dans le domaine religieux. Dieu grâce à la chapelle royale a chez le roi d'une façon aussi bien privée que publique une demeure et un appareil liturgique. Une des réalisations les plus réussies dans ce domaine est évidemment la Sainte Chapelle de saint Louis qui joue un rôle supplémentaire, celui d'une châsse pour les reliques exceptionnelles que le roi y a déposées. Les déplacements et itinéraires royaux auxquels il a été fait allusion du point de vue de leur signification temporelle ont aussi une signification spatiale. Les itinéraires royaux comme trajets avec l'exercice des droits de gîte reconnus au roi définissent une sorte de carte royale de routes. Thomas Zotz a bien montré ce que peut signifier pour une ville la présence ou l'absence du roi et à la fin du Moyen Age les trajets royaux seront de plus en plus soulignés dans l'espace

Jacques Le Goff


par la cérémonie de l'entrée royale dans les villes. Praesentia ou absentia regis, adventus regis sont des expressions lourdes de signification et Thomas Zotz cite une phrase caractéristique: 'terra quam rex non frequentat saepissime pauperum clamoribus et gemitibus abundat'. Il faut enfin se rappeler qu'avec la Renaissance se développe le thème de la ville royale idéale qui engendrera même certains projets concrets. C'est la 'città reale' du Filarete. C. Quelques types royaux

i. Rex inutilis. La volonté des rois usurpateurs de se justifier et légitimer a amené la création du type du roi inutile. Le beau livre d'Edward Peters The Shadow-king étudie quelques cas représentatifs d'usurpation, notamment le remplacement des Mérovingiens par les Carolingiens au VIIIe siècle et l'assassinat d'Edouard II au XIVe siècle. L'expression a été d'abord employée à l'égard du dernier roi carolingien de Francie occidentale Louis V puis elle fut appliquée rétroactivement au dernier Mérovingien d'où l'invention du thème des Rois Fainéants et elle a aussi frappé Sanche II de Portugal remplacé en 1245 par son frère par le pape Innocent IV. L'expression stéréotypée a été rex inutilis vel nilfaciens. Il serait intéressant de s'interroger sur la notion d'utilitas appliquée à la royauté médiévale. On a vu qu'elle désigne d'une part un rôle relevant de la troisième fonction indo-européenne, et d'autre part la conception de la royauté comme institution au service du bien public. ii. Rex tyrannus.

Venu del' Antiquité, le terme de tyrannus s'oppose à un chef politique légitime au point que rex tyrannus est devenu au Moyen Age presque contradictoire. Isidore de Séville a donné la définition chrétienne du tyran (Etymologies IX, III, 18-20): 'nam apud veteres inter regem et tyrannum nulla discretio erat. Fortes reges tyranni vocabantur . . . 1am postea in usum accidit tyrannos vocari pessimos atque improbos reges, luxuriosae dominationis cupiditatem et crudellisimam dominationem in populis exercentes'. Le cas de Roger II de

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Sicile couronné par un anti-pape contre le Pape soutenu par Saint Bernard et )'Empereur valut à Roger le nom de tyran et Isidore le plaça à la suite des tyrans siciliens de I' Antiquité appelant la Sicile patria tyrannorum. Roger II fut donc qualifié de 'tyrannus Siciliae, invasor imperii oppressor populi et ecclesiae Dei'. Mais après sa reconnaissance par le Pape Innocent II en 1139, il devint rex utilis et valde necessarius. De façon générale l'émergence d'une conception de 'roi utile et nécessaire' se situe dans la seconde moitié du xne siècle. Elle est liée à l'évolution de la royauté vers une monarchie administrative et rationnelle dont le premier exemple fut la 'new monarchy' de Henri Il. Mais le problème du tyrannicide ne disparait pas pour autant. Au milieu du xnesiècle John of Salisbury hésite puis condamne le tyrannicide. Dans la France du xvesiècle le problème du tyrannicide suscite une polémique à l'occasion de l'assassinat en 1407 du duc d'Orléans frère du roi sur l'ordre du duc de Bourgogne. Le maître de l'Université de Paris Jean Petit justifia l'assassinat au titre du tyrannicide. iii. Le roi, le savoir et la culture: rex illiteratus, rexfacetus.

L'expression rex illiteratus quasi asinus coronatus apparaît chez William of Malmesbury vers 1125 et elle est diffusée par John of Salisbury. Cet idéal nouveau d'un roi lettré, cultivé et même savant va de pair avec la transformation des royautés en état administratif et bureaucratique et elle est également soulignée par la réhabilitation de Salomon comme modèle royal. Un nouveau rapport de force s'établit entre les trois pouvoirs de l'Église, de la royauté et de la science bientôt incarnée par les universités. C'est la trilogie Sacerdotium, Regnum et Studium. Pourtant si les rois acquièrent une certaine culture celle-ci passe de plus en plus par la pratique des langues vulgaires et de moins en moins par le latin qui se réduit au monde des clercs. Nicholas Orme dans son étude sur l'éducation des rois d' Angleterre au Moyen Age souligne qu'à partir de Jean Sans Terre ces rois ne parlent plus couramment latin. Le bagage de la culture royale demeure cependant modeste même dans le domaine religieux. Saint Louis lui-même quand il est prisonnier des musulmans en Égypte est impressionné par la bibliothèque de l'émir. Il y aura cependant des


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rois savants dont la culture et la curiosité intellectuelle ont frappé les contemporains. C'est le cas d' Alfonso X el Sabio de Castille dans la seconde moitié du XIIIe siècle, de Charles V de France, roi 'aristotélicien' dans la seconde moitié du XIVe siècle. L'expression rex facetus se diffuse dans la deuxième moitié du xne siècle, elle est liée au développement de la courtoisie et plus précisément des manières des cours royales, la curialitas. Le premier rex facetus semble avoir été Henri II d'Angleterre, l'expression est également employée à l'égard de son fils Henri le Jeune roi couronné du vivant de son père mais mort avant lui. Le rex facetus fait preuve d'une sociabilité particulière à l'égard de son entourage, il est un modèle d'esprit de cour, il se fait remarquer par sa propension à la plaisanterie de bon goût, il introduit un rire courtois à la cour. Il suscite des courtisans qui rendent hommage au souverain en écrivant pour lui des recueils d'histoires constituant un amusement instructif. Le modèle en est les Otia imperialia que Gervase of Tilbury écrivit pour le délassement de l'empereur Othon IV de Brunswick.

iv. Le roi eschatologique et messianique. Les deux grands idéaux dont on attend du roi qu'il les fasse régner dans son royaume, ce sont la paix et la justice. Ces deux termes ont une connotation eschatologique. Ils représentent la fin vers laquelle doit tendre l'humanité de façon à se présenter au Jugement dernier en état d'être sauvée. Mais si rex iustus est une expression banale attribuée sans intention particulière à beaucoup de rois, rex pacificus est en revanche une expression qui souligne le caractère eschatologique du roi et sa vocation à être un messie et à préparer le millenium qui préfigurera sur terre à la fin des temps l'ère des saints. Boniface VIII dans sa bulle de canonisation donne à Saint Louis le titre de rex pacificus. Le caractère messianique du roi s'incarne tout particulièrement en certains d'entre eux. Ce caractère se manifeste dans les légendes qui entourent la mort de certains rois. On ne les considère pas comme vraiment morts mais seulement comme cachés, comme endormis dans un lieu secret d'où ils s'éveilleront pour être des rois messianiques dans le futur et en particulier à la fin des temps. Cet aspect de l'idéologie et du mythe royal qui s'est surtout développé à l'époque

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moderne a existé aussi dans l'Islam médiévale. C'est le temps de l'Émir caché qui a eu peut-être une certaine influence en Occident. Le plus célèbre modèle de roi caché dans l'Occident médiéval est l'Empereur Frédéric Barberousse. D. Les rois fragiles Les rois médiévaux peuvent être menacés à certaines périodes et dans certaines circonstances. i. Les rois enfants.

Il y a eu de nombreuses minorités royales dans la Chrétienté médiévale et en particulier chez les Capétiens français. Le problème est alors moins celui de la régence que celui de l'enfance du roi. En effet la protection divine n'est pas autant acquise à un roi enfant qu'à un roi adulte. Le roi enfant peut moins bien jouer son rôle d'intermédiaire entre son peuple et Dieu. La parole de l'Ancien Testament, 'Malheur à la terre dont le roi est un enfant' a pesé fortement sur les sentiments des peuples pendant la minorité de leur roi. Les cas presque contemporains des minorités d'Henri III d'Angleterre et de Louis IX de France montrent les dangers de ces périodes. Walter Ullmann a signalé comme un renforcement du pouvoir royal par les Carolingiens l'apparition de la 'fonction of the king as the tutor of the kingdom' et 'the juristic theme of the kingdom as a minor under age'. Comment un mineur pourrait-il protéger un autre mineur ? ii. Les rois lointains.

Plusieurs rois de l'Occident médiéval sont allés à la croisade et ont donc été absents de leurs domaines au moins pendant un an. Certains d'entre eux ont été faits à cette occasion prisonniers, redoublant l'effet d'absence. Même dans les royaumes bien organisés d'Angleterre et de France laissés aux mains de régents ayant de l'autorité et de l'expérience, l'éloignement des rois a créé un sentiment d'inquiétude et a favorisé soit des ambitions, soit des émotions irrationnelles. C'est le cas de Richard Coeur de Lion. C'est encore plus le cas de Saint Louis qui reste six ans hors de France lors de sa première croisade. De ce roi lointain qui a été quelques semaines prisonniers des musulmans et qui se trouve dans les mirages de l'Orient

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est né en grande partie le mouvement millénariste pacifique puis violent des Pastoureaux qui a secoué la monarchie et la société française. iii. Les rois lépreux.

Les rois sont évidemment soumis à la maladie et le roi malade est un personnage diminué, non seulement comme tout homme malade, mais la pleine réalisation de son pouvoir et de ses fonctions s' accomplit mieux quand il est en bonne santé. R. Hiestand a bien mis en lumière le cas du roi malade comme cas particulier et particulièrement grave de l'homme malade au Moyen Age. Roi parfois malade, le roi est aussi mortel. L. Bornscheuer a cerné l'impact du caractère mortel du roi et de l'accomplissement de sa mort. De l'empereur Henri II on dit par exemple: 'infirmitate gravissima tangitur et rex cum sit homo mortalis esse monetur'. La mort du roi fragilise si bien le royaume que comme on l'a vu on cherche à effacer par divers moyens le vide entre deux règnes. La maladie du roi fait aussi naître l'image dramatique de sa mort possible. Il y eut dans la Chrétienté médiévale au moins un cas particulièrement dramatique de roi malade, ce fut celui de Baudouin IV, roi de Jérusalem, qui était lépreux. Une bulle pontificale l'invita à renoncer au trône, la lèpre étant une maladie honteuse, signe du péché originel qui ne permettait pas à un roi d'exercer un pouvoir au nom de Dieu. Mais les chrétiens de Terre sainte refusèrent de tenir compte de l'admonestation pontificale. Les chrétiens d'Outre-mer avaient acquis une autre mentalité. iv. Les rois fous.

Le cas de la folie du roi se présenta essentiellement en France avec Charles VI, roi de 1380 à 1422. Dans une période particulièrement difficile pour la monarchie française prise entre les factions nationales et la lutte contre les Anglais, la folie du roi qui paralysait plus ou moins le pouvoir à certains moments fut une circonstance lourdement aggravante de la situation. Et pourtant, on n'osa ni déposer le roi, ni le remplacer. Sa folie n'empêchait pas Charles VI d'être très populaire et de conserver le surnom de Bienaimé qu'on lui avait donné au début de son règne. La folie fut donc un dérèglement de la monarchie mais non un cas de mise à l'écart du roi. Le fait est inté-

Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


ressant aussi bien du point de vue de l'image du roi que de celle de la folie. On a vu comment d'autres rois, fragiles quant à leur légitimité contestable, plus ou moins usurpateurs, ont su remédier à leur fragilité essentielle. Mais même les rois les mieux assis et les mieux aimés n'ont pas échappé à la tentation chez leur peuple d'en faire des boucs émissaires face aux grands malheurs nationaux, désastres militaires, catastrophes démographiques, humiliations collectives. A partir du moment où, au XIVe siècle sans doute, on peut parler d'une opinion publique, la fonction royale devint encore plus périlleuse et la tentation de faire des rois les boucs émissaires des situations révolutionnaires comme ce sera le cas dans l'Angleterre du XVIIe siècle et la France de la Révolution française, se prépara sans doute dès le Moyen Age.

E. L'imaginaire royal i. Le roi dans le miroir de l'image et de l'art.

L'iconographie royale a été pendant tout le Moyen Age très riche, en particulier les images des souverains carolingiens ont été une des expressions majeures de leur pouvoir. De façon plus générale, le roi médiéval a vécu entouré d'images dans ses palais, dans les églises de son royaume, qui lui renvoient sinon son image personnelle du moins celle de sa fonction. Le roi possède de riches manuscrits dont certains sont proprement des manuscrits royaux. C'est plus particulièrement le cas des livres liés à la dévotion personnelle du roi. Saint Louis par exemple possède à la fois le riche psautier de sa mère Blanche de Castille et celui qui porte son propre nom et que finit d'étudier Harvey Stahl. La grande création artistique du règne de Saint Louis, la Sainte Chapelle propose dans ses vitraux comme Françoise Perrot vient de le démontrer, un véritable programme iconographique royal. Un grand artisan de la construction du pouvoir royal et de l'image du roi en France, l'abbé Suger, dans la première moitié du xne siècle, fait accomplir à l'imagerie royale des progrès décisifs: il commande le vitrail de l'arbre de Jessé, thème qui va devenir une des grandes monstrations de la filiation royale de Jésus descendant de David. Il fait sculpter pour le portail occidental de l'abbatiale les statues co-


Jacques Le Goff

lonnes représentant les rois de l'ancien Israël qui va devenir le modèle du portail royal. Sans aller jusqu •à l'idée de Robert Branner qui estime qu •il y a eu sous Saint Louis et à son instigation un style de cour il faut noter que la plupart des rois ont eu une politique artistique et ont marqué de leur fonction et de leur empreinte l'art autour d'eux. Certains manuscrits contenant les offices liturgiques des sacres royaux, comportent des miniatures représentant ce moment essentiel où le roi devient pleinement roi et nous fournissent sur l'image royale des aspects qui ne se rencontrent pas ailleurs. C'est le cas de la série de miniatures du manuscrit latin 1246 de la Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris et du manuscrit Cottonian Tiberius B.8 de la British Library de Londres qui contient une représentation du sacre du roi de France Charles V. Personnage éminent qui se pose seul en tête d'une hiérarchie, le roi a joué un rôle capital dans la promotion de l'individu et du portrait.

ii. Le roi dans le miroir de la littérature. Le roi est un personnage fréquent dans la littérature médiévale, et notamment dans la littérature en langue vernaculaire. Ces rois imaginaires ne sont pas les exemples réalistes des rois réels mais ils nous renseignent tout particulièrement sur la représentation du roi dans les mentalités et les sensibilités. Un roi totalement imaginaire, un roi prêtre, le prêtre Jean, censé régner en Inde ou en Éthiopie, a connu en Occident à partir du siècle un succès étonnant qui en a fait la figure idéalisée du roi sacré et de ce roi impossible en Chrétienté, le roi-prêtre. Des rois de la littérature ou de l'histoire ancienne ont siècle, retrouvé une nouvelle vie dans les romans antiques du c · est le cas d' Enée, héros de l' Enéas et surtout d'Alexandre. Les romans bretons tournent autour d'un roi, Arthur. Dans Tristan et Iseut, le roi Marc donne une autre image du roi et un détail de son personnage, ses oreilles de cheval, ont permis de rattacher le roi de l'imaginaire médiéval au roi du folklore. Un roi historique du Moyen Age a connu dans l'imaginaire un succès prodigieux, c'est Charlemagne qui règne sur les chansons de gestes. Certains de ces rois littéraires représentent d'ailleurs eux aussi des types royaux, Arthur apparaît souvent comme le rex inutilis et Charlemagne figure un autre type de roi touché par la fragilité malgré son prestige, le roi vieillard.



Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


iii. Le roi dans le miroir de la société animale. La société animale qui a connu dans la littérature une très grande faveur du public médiéval est une société royale et le roi des animaux est un miroir du roi humain. Il se joue d'ailleurs autour des animaux un jeu de concurrence royale. Michel Pastoureau a montré comment au xne siècle le vieux roi traditionnel des animaux, l'ours, est détrôné par un jeune usurpateur, le lion. L'héraldique vient compliquer la présence animale dans l'imaginaire royal. La concurrence ici est entre l'aigle et le lion, le lion et le léopard. Ce royaume animal est souvent un royaume repoussoir. Un sermon anonyme du XIIIe siècle étudié par Dom Jean Leclercq oppose le royaume des cieux et celui des bêtes sauvages. Sur terre il y a des rois voraces semblables au lion 'roi des bêtes sauvages', et à l'aigle 'roi des oiseaux'. iv. L'imaginaire des origines royales. Les rois aiment bien se présenter comme descendants d'une dynastie aux origines fabuleuses, historiques, légendaires ou même diaboliques. Par exemple les rois de France, dès les Mérovingiens, ont revendiqué des origines troyennes, les rattachant à l' Antiquité au-delà même des Romains. Les rois Plantagenêts d'Angleterre se sont réclamés d'une origine diabolique, dont un Richard Coeur de Lion se vantait. Il se proclamait par provocation 'fils de la démone'. La maternelle et diabolique Mélusine a été au Moyen Age mère de rois. F. La mémoire royale

i. La mon des rois. La mort des rois quand elle n'a pas lieu à la guerre se fait au milieu d'un cérémonial qui devient plus spectaculaire encore pour les funérailles. Cette histoire a été en général bien faite à la suite notamment de Ralph Giesey qui a étudié les funérailles des rois de France à la fin du Moyen Age et à la Renaissance. Le cérémonial funèbre se retrouve aussi bien chez les rois espagnols que chez les rois de France ou les empereurs.


Jacques Le Goff

A l'étude des funérailles il faut ajouter celle des monuments funéraires et des nécropoles royales, expression fondamentale de l'idéologie royale. Alain Erlande Brandenburg en a donné pour les rois de France une étude exemplaire. Les rois se sont souvent préoccupés eux-mêmes de cette politique funéraire. C'est le cas en particulier de Saint Louis quand il remania profondément la nécropole royale de Saint-Denis pour la rendre conforme à la nouvelle image dynastique de la monarchie française et pour prolonger la vie des rois par les images de gisants sur leurs tombeaux. ii. Testament des rois et prières pour les rois défunts.

Le salut des rois morts les inquiète pendant leur vie et préoccupe après leur mort leurs descendants et leurs sujets. Par des fondations et des aumônes instituer une chaîne de prières pour le salut de leur âme est la motivation fondamentale des testaments royaux. Elisabeth Brown a bien montré comment leur propre salut a été un souci capital pour les rois et a pu en particulier au moment de leur mort et dans leur testament entrer en conflit avec les intérêts de l'État. iii. Les biographies royales.

Les rois et les dynasties sont des sujets privilégiés pour les chroniques médiévales. Saint-Denis qui devient au xnesiècle le grand lieu de la mémoire dynastique capétienne produit à la fin du règne de Saint Louis une chronique royale qui sera présentée à son fils et successeur Philippe III le Hardi et portait significativement le nom de 'le . '. roman aux r01s La vie de Robert le Pieux par Helgaud de Fleury, l'abbaye qui a essayé de jouer au x1esiècle le rôle dynastique que Saint-Denis réussira à accaparer, présente un véritable modèle royal, un miroir des r01s. Dans toute la Chrétienté une grande activité littéraire de chroniques s'est déroulée autour des figures royales. Cela a été particulièrement le cas des chroniques royales espagnoles. iv. La construction de la mémoire royale.

Avant qu'il y ait des historiographes royaux, comme il y en aura à l'époque moderne, certains milieux ont joué le rôle de constructeurs et de diffuseurs d'une mémoire royale qui, même en dehors du cas du

Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


saint roi Louis IX de France, tendait à l'hagiographie. Plus que pour toute autre mémoire la mémoire royale réclame au médiéviste de se faire un déconstructeur de ces mémoires officielles. Élisabeth Carpentier a bien montré comment les historiens royaux ont concouru à l'image et aux réalités du pouvoir capétien, d'Helgaud de Fleury à Guillaume le Breton.

v. Le roi dans l'art et la littérature. L'imaginaire littéraire royal évoqué plus haut a créé une lignée littéraire qui a bénéficié en Angleterre du génie d'un très grand écrivain: les pièces historiques de Shakespeare sont l'aboutissement de la mémoire royale médiévale. CONCLUSIONS A. Le roi et la naissance de l'État moderne

Selon l'expression de Walter Ullmann la royauté carolingienne avait établi 'a stunted sovereignty' soumise à l'action de l'Église, reconnaissant l'existence d'une 'higher law', 'a law that govemed the cosmos as well as society to which the king (qua king) was consequently subjected'. Du XIIe au XVIe siècle, la royauté se transforme selon l 'expression d'Emst Kantorowicz en 'kingship under the impact of scientific jurisprudence' bien que le prince lui-même ne devienne pas un juriste: 'raro princeps iurista invenitur'. S'il tend à devenir absolu, 'princeps legibus solutus', le roi doit se soumettre à ces deux grandes inventions du xne siècle, la raison et la nature. Le roi devient un 'seigneur naturel' et son gouvernement doit être guidé par la raison. La royauté semble se désacraliser et on passe d'une 'Christ-centered kingship' à une 'law-centered and man-centered kingship'. Mais la prétendue laïcisation du pouvoir royal que croyait déceler Joseph Strayer n'est que le déplacement de la sacralisation sur l'État qui impose désormais à tous, y compris au roi, sa raison (raison d'état) et ses mystères ( 'mysteries of state' de Kantorowicz).


Jacques Le Goff

Le roi va donc s'efforcer de s'approprier l'État mais ce n'est qu'en dilatant le Moyen Age jusqu'au xvne siècle qu'on peut faire dire au roi avec Louis XIV: 'L'État c'est moi'. Pour mieux résister à lafortune, nouvelle concurrente de la providence qui n'hésite pas à le placer sur sa roue, il lui faut être vertueux, rex virtuosissimus.

B. Rois d'avant et rois d'ailleurs Une comparaison rapide et qui ne peut être ici que très superficielle avec les rois dans l'idéologie et l'histoire de l'Inde, du Moyen et du Proche Orient ancien, de l'ancien Israël, de l'Extrême-Orient, des royaumes hellénistiques, des rois archaïques et des empereurs de Rome, des rois africains, offre un certain nombre de ressemblances et des différences fondamentales. Le roi primitif était souvent un roi cosmique. Cet élément passe à l'arrière-plan au Moyen Age en ne laissant que certains symboles: le globe impérial, le manteau d' Hugues Capet, le manteau d'Erec, roi imaginaire du roman courtois, les symboles solaires qui préparent l'idée d'un roi soleil, le trône, image du monde. Le roi antique était un roi dieu ou divinisé après sa mort. Ce processus est évidemment interdit par le christianisme, mais le roi est couronné par Dieu, a Deo coronatus, il est l'image de Dieu, imago Dei, il peut être un roi-Christ parce que oint, rex christus, et, dans certains cas bien délimités un roi thaumaturge. De même le roi prêtre de I' Antiquité ne connaîtra pas de postérité médiévale. Le comparatisme met en évidence dans )'histoire de la fonction royale une évolution: l'intérêt se déplace du religieux vers le politique. Le roi était sacré ou divin, désormais ce sont les rapports avec le pouvoir et l'état qui sont d'une certaine façon sacralisés. L'analyse et la signification des rites, en particulier les rites d'inauguration et de funérailles, qui devraient être poussés en détail feraient apparaître à la fois là encore des similitudes et des différences. Une fonction essentielle du roi semble persister sous de nouvelles formes liées aux transformations de l'économie et de la société. Le

Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


roi médiéval est un distributeur de terres et de femmes comme Georges Duby en particulier l'a bien montré à propos de William the Marshall. La couronne ou le trône demeurent des attributs royaux fondamentaux, mais le roi médiéval y ajoute l'onction que n'avait connue qu'Israël (et qui commence avec la royauté wisigothique). Les différences entre ces types de rois se manifestent aussi dans la différence des documents qui permettent de l'étudier. Selon que ces documents relèvent surtout de l'archéologie et de l'épigraphie, comme c'est le cas pour l' Antiquité et les anciennes civilisations, de !'oralité, comme c'est le cas en Afrique, ou de l'écriture même si elle n'est pas la seule source, le type de roi à qui on a affaire est différent. Claude Tardits a bien montré l'événement de rupture que représente dans le cas du royaume Bamoum au Cameroun la création d'une écriture par le roi Nioya au début du xxesiècle et par la naissance qui s'ensuivit d'une histoire écrite modifiant la mémoire, l'image et la fonction royale elle-même. La conclusion peut être décevante mais elle doit aussi réjouir l'historien. Le roi chrétien médiéval, s'il n'est qu'un cas parmi les nombreux rois de la terre et de l'histoire, a été un roi original. Bibliographie Sommaire Généralités Article, 'Ktinig, Ktinigtum', Lexicon des Mittelalters, V (Zürich/Munich, 1991), col. 1298-1324. J. M. Bak, éd., Coronations. Medieval and Early Modem Monarchie Rituals (Berkeley, 1990). J. Barbey, ftre roi. Le roi et son gouvernement en France de Clovis à Louis XVI (Paris, 1992). É. Benveniste, Le vocabulaire des institutions indo-européennes, II, Pouvoir, droit, religion, l: La royauté et ses privilèges (Paris, 1969), pp. 7-95. G. Dumezil, Les dieux souverains des indo-européens. (Paris, 1977; 3e éd., 1986) A. M. Hocart, Kingship (Oxford, 1927). -, Kings and Council/ors (Chicago, 1970; trad. française, Rois et courtisans, Paris, 1978). J. Le Goff, 'Reims, ville du sacre', in P. Nora éd., Les Lieux de mémoire, II, La Nation (Paris, 1986), pp. 89-184.


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T. Mayer, éd, Das Konigtum. Seine geistigen und rechtlichen Grundlagen. Vortriige und Forschungen, III (Mainau-Vortrage, 1954; Lindau/Constance 1963). R. Mousnier, Monarchies et royautés. De la préhistoire à nos jours (Paris, 1989). Recueils de la Société Jean Bodin, XX: La Monocratie, Deuxième partie (Bruxelles, 1969). Hans K. Schulze. 'Monarchie' in Otto Brunner. W. Konze, R. Koselleck, Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe, IV, 141-68. The Sacral Kingship, La regalità Sacra: contributions to the Central Theme of the Vlllth International Congress for the History of Religions, Rome, April 1955 (Leyde. 1959). Antiquité H. Frankfort. La Royauté et les Dieux. Intégration de la société à la nature dans la religion de 1'ancien Proche Orient (Chicago. 1948; trad. française, Paris, I 951 ). H. P. L'Orange, Studies on the Jconography of Cosmic Kingship in the Ancient World(Oslo, 1953). M. Reydellet. La Royauté dans la littérature latine de Sidoine Apollinaire à Isidore de Séville (Rome. I981 ). Moyen Age H. H. Anton Fürstenspiegel und Herrscherethos in der Karolingerzeit (Bonn, 1968). S. Baggc. The Political Thought of the King 's Mirror (en norvégien, 1980; trad. anglaise, Odense, 1987). J. M. Bak. 'Medieval Symbology of the State: Percy E. Schramm's Contribution·. Viator, IV (1973 ). 33-63. -. Konigtum und Stiinde in Ungarn im 14-16 Jahrhundert (Wiesbaden, 1973). F. Barlow, 'The King's Evil', English Historical Review, XCV (1980), 3-27. W. Berges, Die Fürstenspiegel des hohen und spiiten Mittelalters (Leipzig. 1938). Th. N. Bisson, 'The Problem of Feudal Monarchy: Aragon. Catalunia and France•, Speculum, LIil ( 1978), 460-78. M. Bloch. Les Rois Thaumaturges. Étude sur le caractère surnaturel attribué à la puissance royale particulièrement en France et en Angleterre (Strasbourg. 1924, 3c éd. [Préface de J. Le Goff], Paris, 1983 ). L. Bornscheuer, Miseriae Regum. Untersuchungen zum Krisen- und Todesgedanken in den herrschaftstheologischen Vorstellungen der ottonisc/1salischen "Zeit(Berlin, 1968). C. A. Bournan, Sac ring and Crowning: the development of the Latin Ritua/ for the Anointing of Kings (Groningue, 1957).

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E. A. R. Brown, 'Royal Salvation and Needs of State in Late Capetian France', Order and Innovation in the Middle Age. Essays in Honor of J. R. Strayer (Princeton, 1976), pp. 365-83. -, 'Burying and Unburying the Kings of France', in R. C. Trexler, éd., Persons in Groups (Binghampton, 1985), pp. 241-66. -, 'The Ceremonial of Royal Succesion in Capetian France, The Double Funeral of Louis X', Traditio, XXXIV ( 1978), 226--71. -, The Monarchy of Capetian France and Royal Ceremonial, (Londres, 1991). -, Politics and Institutions in Capetian France (Londres, 1991). -, 'The Ceremonial of Royal Succession in Capetian France. The Funeral of Philip V', Speculum, LV ( 1980), 266--93. L. M. Bryant. The King and The City in the Parisian Royal Entry Ceremony. Politics, Rituals and Art in The Renaissance (Genève, 1986) -, 'Le cérémonie de l'entrée à Paris au moyen age'. Annales, XLIII ( 1986), 513-42. J. Dickinson, 'The Mediaeval Concept of Kingship and Sorne of its Limitations as Developed in the Policraticus of John of Salisbury', Specu/um, I ( 1926), 308-37. E. Eichmann, Die Kaiserkronung im Abendland: Ein Beitrag zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters, 2 vols (Würzbourg. 1942). R. Elze, Piipste, Kaiser, Konige und die mitte/alterliche Herrschersymbolik, édd. L. Schmugge et B. Schimmelpfennig (Londres, 1982). M. J. Enright, Jona, Tara and Soissons. The Origin of the Royal Anointing Ritual (Berlin, 1985). A. Erlande-Brandenburg, Le roi est mort. Étude sur les funérailles, les sépultures et les tombeaux des rois de France jusqu'à la fin du XI/Je siècle (Genève, 1975). E. Ewig, 'Résidence et capitale au haut Moyen Age', Revue Historique, CCXXX (1963), 25-72. -. 'Zum christlichen Konigsgedanken im Frühmittelalter', in Das Konigtum, éd. T. Mayer, 1954. J. Fleckenstein. Die Hofkapel/e der deutschen Konige, Schriften der MGH, 16/1 (Stuttgart, 1959). R. Folz, Les Saints Rois du Moyen Age en Occident (Vfe_XI/Je siècle) (Bruxelles, 1984). E. Fügedi, 'Coronation in Medieval Hungary', Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, NS, III (1980). 159-89. F. Graus, Volk, Herrscher und Heiliger im Reiche der Merowinger (Prague, 1965). B. Guenee, F. Lehoux, Les Entrées royales françaises de 1328 à 1515 (Paris, 1968). N. Gussone, Thron und lnthronisation des Papstes von den Anfiingen bis zum 12. Jahrhundert. Zur Beziehung zwischen Herrschaftszeichen und bildhaften Begriffen, Recht und Liturgie im christlichen Verstiindnis von Wort und Wirklichkeit (Bonn, 1978). G. Gyorffy, Konig Stephan der Heilige (Budapest, 1988).


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M. Hellmann, éd., Corona regni. Studien über die Krone ais Symbol des Staates im spiiteren Mittelalter (Weimar, 1961). C. Warren Hollister et J. W. Baldwin, 'The Rise of Administrative Kingship: Henry I and Philip Augustus', American Historical Review, LXXXIII (1978). 867-905. R. A. Jackson, 'The Sleeping King', Bibliothèque d'humanisme et renaissance, XXXI (1969), 525-51. -, Vivat Rex. Histoire des sacres et couronnements en France, 1364-1825 (Strasbourg, 1984). -. The Traité du sacre of Jean Golein ·, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, CXIII( 1969), 305-24. E. H. Kantorowicz, The King 's Two Bodies. A Study in Medieval Political Theory (Princeton, 1957; trad. française, Les Deux Corps du roi (Paris, 1989). 'Kingship under the Impact of Scientific Jurisprudence', in Twelfth-Century Europe and the Foundations of Modern Society, Proceedings of a Symposium sponsored by the Division of Humanities of the University of Wisconsin, édd. M. Clagett, G. Post, and R. Reynolds (Madison, 1961), pp. 89-111. G. Klaniczay, The Uses of Supernatural Power (Cambridge, 1990). J. Krynen, Idéal d'-!prince et Pouvoir royal en France à la fin du Moyen Age ( 1380-/440). Etude de la littérature politique du temps (Paris, 1981). -, •"Le mort saisit le vif'. Genèse médiévale du principe d'instantanéité de la succession royale française', Journal des savants ( 1984), pp. 187-221. J. Le Goff, 'Note sur société tripartie, idéologie monarchique et renouveau économique dans la Chrétienté du 1xeau xnesiècle', in L'Europe aux JXe-xJe siècles, éd. T. Manteuffel et A. Gieysztor (Varsovie, 1968), pp. 13-72, repris dans, Pour un Autre Moyen Age (Paris, 1977; 2e éd. 1991), pp. 66-79. -, 'La genèse du miracle royal', in Marc Bloch aujourd'hui. Histoire comparée et sciences sociales: Actes du colloque Marc Bloch ( 1986), édd. H. Atsma et A. Burguiere. -, 'Saint Louis et les corps royaux', in Le Temps de la Réflexion, III (1982), 255-84. A. W. Lewis, Le Sang royal. La famille capétienne et l'État. France xe_x1ve siècle ( 1981, trad. française, Paris, 1986). B. D. Lyon, 'What made a Medieval King Constitutional?', Essays in Medieval History presented to Bertie Wilkinson (Toronto, 1969), pp. 157-75. G. Melville, 'Herrschertum und Residenzen in Grenzraumen mittelalterlicher Wirklichkeit' in Fürstliche Residenzen, édd. Werner Paravicini et Hans Patze, Vortrage und Forschungen, 36 (Sigmaringen, 1990). J. L. Nelson, Politics and Ritual in Early Mediaeval Europe (Londres/ Ronceverte, 1986). F. Olivier-Martin, Étude sur les régences, I, Les Régences et la majorité des rois sous la Capétiens directs et les premiers Valois (Paris, 1931). M. Pastoureau, 'Quel est le roi des animaux?', in Figures et Couleurs. Étude sur la symbolique et la sensibilité médiévales (Paris, 1986), pp. 159-73.

Le Roi dans l'Occident médiéval


E. Peters, The Shadow King: 'Rex inutilis' in Medieval Law and Literature, 7511327 (Newhaven, 1970). H. C. Peyer, 'Das Reisekonigtum des Mittelalters', Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, LI (1964), 1-21. P. H. Sawyer et 1. N. Wood, édd., Early Medieval Kingship (Leeds, 1977). R. Schneider, éd. Das spiitmittelalterliche Konigtum in europiiischen Vergleich (Sigmaringen, 1986). P. E. Schramm, Der Konig von Frankreich. Das Wesen der Monarchie vom 9. zum 16. Jahrhundert, 2 vols, 2e éd. (Darmstardt, 1960). -, Geschichte des englischen Konigtums im Lichte der Kronung (Weimar, 1937; trad. anglaise, Oxford, 1937). -, Herrschaftszeichen und Staatssymbolik. Beitriige zu ihrer Geschichte vom dritten bis zum sechzehnten Jahrhundert, Schriften der MGH, 13/1-111 (Stuttgart, 1954-6). -, Kaiser, Konige und Piipste, 4 vol. (Stuttgart, 1968-71). -, Die deutschen Kaiser und Konige in Bildern ihrer Zeit (Leipzig/Berlin, 1928; 2e éd. 1983). B. Tiemey, 'The Prince is not bound by the laws', Comparative Studies in Society and History, V ( 1962-3), 378-400. W. Ullmann, The Carolingian Renaissance and the ldea of Kingship, The Birkbeck Lectures, 1968-9 (Londres, 1969). -, 'The Development of the Medieval Idea of Sovereignty', English Historical Review, LXIV (l 949), 1-33 -. 'Schranken der Konigsgewalt im Mittelalter', Historisches Jahrbuch, XCI ( 1971), 1-21. J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, The Long-Haired Kings and other Studies in Frankish History (Londres, 1962). K. F. Werner, 'Konigtum und Fürstentum im Franzosischen 12. Jahrhundert', in Vortriige und Forschungen, XII, Probleme des 12. Jahrhunderts (Constance/Stuttgart, 1968), 177-225.

Individualités W. Braunfels, éd., Karl der Grosse. Lebenswerk und Nachleben, 5 vols (Düsseldorf, 1965- 7). D. A. Carpenter, The Minority of Henry Ill (Berkeley, 1990). J. Ch. Cassard, 'Arthur est vivant. Jalons pur une enquête sur le messianisme royal au Moyen Age', Cahiers de Civilisation Médiévale, XXXII (1989), 135-46. E. Cordt, •Attila. Flagellum Dei. Zur Darstellung des Hunnenkonigs in Sage und Chronistik', in Quaderni dell 'lstituto di Filologia Germanica (Facoltà di Lettere dell'Università di Trieste), 1984. J. Gillingham, Richard the Lionheart (Londres, 1978). L. N. Gumilev, Searches for an lmaginary Kingdom. The Legend of the Kingdom of Prester John (Cambridge, 1987).


Jacques Le Goff

E. H. Kantorowicz, L'empereur Frédéric li (Berlin, 1927; supplément 1931, réédition 1980, trad. française, sans supplément, Paris, 1987). J. L. Nelson, Charles the Bald (Londres, 1992). Cl. E. Sherman, 'Representations of Charles V of France ( 1338-1380) as a Wise Ruler', Medievalia et Humanistica, NS, II ( 1971). 83-96. H. Wieruszowski, 'Roger II of Sicily, Rex-Tyrannus, in Xllth-Century Political Thought', Speculum, XXXVIII(1963), 46-78.

Comparatisme D. Cannadine et S. Price, Rituals of Royalty: Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies (Cambridge, 1987). Luc de Heusch, Mythes et Rites Bantous, I, Le roi vivre ou l'origine de l'État (Paris, 1972); II, Rois nés d'un coeur de vache (Paris, 1982). D. Dubuisson, La légende royale dans l'Inde ancienne. Rama et le Ramayana (Paris, 1986). R. E. Giesey, 'Le roi ne meurt jamais': les funérailles royales au temps de la Renaissance (Paris, 1960; 2e éd. 1987). 1. W. Mabbett, éd, Patterns of Kingship and Authority in Traditional Asia (Londres, 1985). C. Tardits, Le Royaume Bamoun (Paris, 1980).

L'ORDO DE COURONNEMENT DE C~RLES LE CHAUVE A SAINTE-CROIX D'ORLEANS (6 JUIN 848) Guy Lanoë Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris

David H. Turner, dans son introduction à l'édition des pontificaux du manuscrit de Londres, British Library, Cotton Claudius A. III, 1 et Janet Nelson dans une communication prononcée à Toronto en février 19852 ont considérablement et heureusement fait progresser le classement des premiers ordines anglo-saxons. En revanche le classement des ordines carolingiens reste obscur. Pourtant les liens entre les uns et les autres ont déjà fait l'objet d'une abondante littérature,3 en dépit de la persistance de quelques chaînons manquants: or un petit ordo qui a échappé jusqu'à présent à l'attention des chercheurs vient combler une de ces lacunes.

*** Avant de présenter ce nouveau document, il est souhaitable de préciser l'aspect actuel de la question, c'est-à-dire de situer les ordines d'Hincmar, la tradition de Sens et l'ordo qualiter rex ordi1

The Claudius Pontificals (from Cotton MS Claudius A. III in the British Library, éd. D. H. Turner. Henry Bradshaw Society. 97 (Chichester, 1971 [pour 1964]). 2 Janet L. Nelson, 'The Second English Ordo', Politics and Ritual in Early Medieval Europe, History Series, 42 (Londres, 1986), pp. 361-74. 3 Il n'est pas nécessaire de reprendre ici l'énorme bibliographie qui concerne ce sujet: elle commence dès le xvnesiècle. avec les travaux de T. Godefroy sur le cérémonial français.


Guy Lanoë

nari debet, ou 'Ordo des sept formules', tout en gardant à l'esprit les premiers ordines anglo-saxons. Les quatre ordines carolingiens les plus anciens qui nous sont conservés sont attribués à Hincmar de Reims. 4 Curieusement les deux plus anciens ont été conçus pour le couronnement d'une reine. Le premier a été rédigé pour le mariage de la fille de Charles le Chauve, Judith, avec le roi t'Ethelwulf de Wessex, le 1er octobre 856.5 Il s'agit d'une cérémonie de mariage, pour laquelle l'épouse reçoit un anneau, et d'une bénédiction pendant laquelle la reine est couronnée. Janet Nelson a montré de façon convaincante que la composition de cette cérémonie reposait sur l'emploi des sacramentaires du VIIIe siècle et du premier ordo anglo-saxon 6 . Le second ordo d'Hincmar a été composé pour le couronnement de la reine Ermentrude, en août 866 7 • Beaucoup plus original dans sa rédaction que la cérémonie précédente, il se limite cependant, au milieu d'allocutions et d'oraisons, à la remise de la couronne, et de la couronne seulement. Les deux autres ordines ont été rédigés par Hincmar pour le couronnement d'un roi. La cérémonie composée pour l'élection et le couronnement 4

5 6


Parce qu'elle est la plus accessible, nous utiliserons ici l'édition de Victor Krause, MGH, Capitularia regum Francorum, II (Hanovre, 1897), 425-7, 453-5, 456-8, 461-2. Cependant toutes les éditions produites à ce jour (Georges H Pertz, Etienne Baluze, André Duchesne) dérivent de celle de Jacques Sirmond, Karoli Calvi et successorum aliquot Franciae regum capitu/aria (Paris, 1623), pp. 371-9, 485-511, le seul, avec Duchesne, qui aît vu l'unique manuscrit de ces ordines (Liège, Saint-Laurent), sans doute perdu depuis le milieu du xvnesiècle. Sirmond reprit son édition dans J. Sirmond, Hincmari archiepiscopi Remensis opera, I (Paris, 1645), 741-50, réimpr. dans PL, CXXV, col. 803-18. PL, CXXXVIII, col. 639-42, 728-32, 737-42, et 781-6, redonnent ces ordines, mais d'après G. H. Pertz, MGH Leges, I (Hanovre, 1835), 450-1, 506-8, 512-15, 543-5. Éd. Krause, MGH Capitula ria, II, 425- 7. Cette cérémonie présidée par Hincmar eut lieu au palais de Verberie. Janet L. Nelson, 'The Earliest Royal Ordo: Sorne Liturgical and Historical Aspects', Authority and Power: Studies in Medieval Law and Government Presented to Walter Ullmann, éd. Brian Tiemey and Peter Linehan (Cambridge, 1980), pp. 29-48, réimpr. dans Politics and Ritua/, pp. 341-60. Éd. Krause, MGH Capitularia, II, 453-5. Cette cérémonie eut lieu à l'issue du synode épiscopal de Soissons.

L'ordo de couronnement de Charles le Chauve


de Charles le Chauve comme roi de Lorraine, le 9 septembre à SaintEtienne de Metz,8 repose sur un échange de déclarations de principe entre les évêques et le roi; puis celui-ci est oint, couronné, et reçoit le sceptre et la palme. La cérémonie s'achève par une messe. Le dernier ordo attribué à l'archevêque de Reims est celui qui fut composé pour le couronnement de Louis II le Bègue, le 8 décembre 877.9 Il est doté d'une promesse préalable du roi, suivi d'une bénédiction, d'une onction, de la remise de deux regalia (la couronne et le sceptre), et il s'achève par une bénédiction. Parallèlement au développement de cette tradition rémoise, l'archevêque de Sens introduit un nouvel ordo, connu sur le nom d"Ordo d'Erdmann', et auquel je voudrais restituer son vrai nom d' Ordo ad ordinandum regem, 10 tellement plus évocateur puisqu'il affiche d'entrée le caractère quasi sacerdotal de la cérémonie. Il ne faut pas perdre de vue que, avant 877, aucun archevêque de Reims ne

Ibid., pp. 337-41 et 456-9. Ibid., pp. 461-2. Cette cérémonie, présidée par Hincmar, eut lieu à Compiègne. R.-H. Bautier pense que cet ordo est celui de son second sacre, le 7 septembre 878, pendant le concile de Troyes, cf. R.-H. Bautier, 'Sacres et couronnements sous les carolingiens et les premiers capétiens. Recherches sur la genèse du sacre royal français', Annuaire-Bulletin de la Société de l'histoire de France, (1987 (1989)), p. 45. 10 Cet ordo ne se trouve que dans deux pontificaux, l'un originaire de Sens, Saint-Pétersbourg, Bibl. publique d'État Saltykov-Scedrine, ms. lat. Q v. I. 35, fols 85-94v, l'autre de Nevers, Paris, BN, ms. lat. 17333, pp. 107-14. Il en existe une copie de la main d' Adrien de Valois, Paris, BN, ms. Baluze 379, fol. 84r-v. L'ordo coronationis a été édité par P. Delalande, Conciliorum antiquorum Galliae a I. Sirmondo S.J. editorum Supplementa (Paris, 1666), pp. 355-8; dom A. Staerk, Les manuscrits du veau XIIIe siècle conservés à la Bibliothèque impériale de Saint-Pétersbourg, I (SaintPétersbourg, 1910), pp. 166-70; P. E. Schramm, 'Die Krônung bei den Westfranken und Angelsachsen v. 878 bis um 1000', Zeitschrift der SavignyStiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, kanonistische Abteilung, XXIII ( 1934), 201--08 (réimpr. dans Kaiser, Kiinige und Piipste, II [Stuttgart, 1968], pp. 217-22) d'après le manuscrit de Saint-Pétersbourg. Mgr A. Crosnier, Sacramentarium ad usum aecclesiae Nivernensis (Nevers, 1875), pp. 107-13, d'après le manuscrit de Nevers.

8 9



préside au sacre et au couronnement du roi de France; 11 ce rôle est dévolu à l'archevêque ou l'évêque du lieu où se tient la cérémonie.12 En revanche les archevêques de Sens se manifestent souvent à la fin du 1xe et au début du xe siècle.13 L'Ordo ad ordinandum regem commence par la petitio episcoporum ad regem et la responsio regis, l'une et l'autre bien connues, mais ici débarrassées de tout élément de circonstance; après le Te deum, vient l'onction, puis la remise de cinq regalia: l'anneau, le glaive, la couronne, le sceptre et le baculum; suit une messe après laquelle on procède au couronnement de la reine, selon un rite tout-à-fait nouveau. Enfin, apparaît un troisième type d'ordines, )'Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet, malheureusement plus connu sous le nom d' 'Ordo der sieben Formeln' si l'on s'en tient à l'intitulé donné par son éditeur, 14 ou 'Ordo de Stavelot' si l'on reprend le titre donné par Bournan. 15 11


13 14


Richard A. Jackson, qui a eu l'amabilité de me faire part de ses remarques à la lecture de ce 'papier' (qu'il en soit ici remercié), précise qu'en 869 Hincmar a oint Charles le Chauve et lui a remis le sceptre. Il reste que la cérémonie était présidée par l'évêque de Metz, Adventius. Sans être exhaustif, notons que lors du sacre de Louis le Jeune, à Limoges, interviennent l'archevêque de Bourges, Rodolphus, et l'évêque de Limoges, Francorum, III. c. 19 (PL, Stolidus, cf. Adémar de Chabannes.Historia CXLI, col. 35); à Metz, lors du sacre de Charles le Chauve comme roi de Lorraine, Hincmar ne prend la parole sJans l'assemblée que 'jubente ac postulente Adventio ipsius civitatis episcopo et ceteris episcopis Treverorum provinciae', Annales Bertiniani, éd. G. Waitz, MGH SRG (Hanovre, 1883), s. a. 869, pp. 103-04. Voir aussi L. Levillain, 'Le sacre de Charles le Chauve à Orléans', Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des Chartes, LXIV (1903), 40 et 42-3. Il faut noter que Louis et Carloman en 879, Eudes en 888, Robert 1eren 922 et Raoul en 923 ont été couronnés par l'archevêque de Sens. Nom donné par son premier éditeur, Carl Erdmann, Forschungen zur politischen Jdeenwelt des Frühmittelalters (Berlin, 1951), pp. 87-9. Ce titre fait bien entendu référence au nombre de formules (sans doute faudrait-il mieux parler d'oraisons) contenues dans !'Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet. Nom donné par C. A. Bournan, Sacring and Crowning. The Development of the Latin Ritualfor the Anointing of Kings and the Coronation of an Emperor before the eleventh Century, Bijdragen van het Instituut voor Middleewse Geschiedenis der Rijks-Universiteit te Utrecht, 30 (Groningen/Djakarta, 1957). pp. 21-3. Ce titre donné par C. Bournan fait référence à l'origine du manuscrit de Bruxelles, Bibl. royale ms. 2067- 73, qui contient l'ordo. Pour-

L'ordo de couronnement de Charles le Chauve


Cet ordo est composé d'une consecratio; suit la formule d'onction, Deus dei filius; puis vient la remise de quatre regalia: la couronne, le sceptre, l'anneau et l'épée; la cérémonie s'achève par le fameux Sta et retine. Puis l'on procède au couronnement de la reine, selon un rite qui n'emprunte rien à l'ordo ad ordinandam reginam évoqué audessus. L'importance de cet ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet a été maintes fois montrée: il tient une place essentielle dans la composition de la première version du second ordo anglo-saxon, 16 et passe en totalité dans le 'Pontifical romano-germanique du xe siècle', composé à Mayence vers 960; 17 il passe aussi en totalité dans l'ordo lombard, qui subsiste dans deux pontificaux ambrosiens du x1e siècle. 18 Janet Nelson a montré que le Premier ordo anglo-saxon avait très certainement été utilisé par Hincmar de Reims pour la rédaction de 1'ordo de la reine Judith en 856, et qu'il aurait pu servir en Wessex pendant tout le 1xe siècle, jusqu'à la rédaction du Second ordo anglosaxon (dans la version de Ratold) pour le couronnement d'Édouard l'Ancien en 900. 19 L'ordo de Ratold utilise l'ordo ad ordinandum regem, lui-même issu des ordines hincmariens de 869 et 877,20 et l' Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet, ancêtre du pontifical romanogermanique du xe siècle; Janet Nelson suggère d'ailleurs que la

16 17


19 2


quoi ne pas donner à ces ordines le nom, le plus souvent lourd de significations, qu'ils ont dans les manuscrits? L'Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet n'est ni un Ordo ad ordinandum regem, ni un Ordo ad regem benedicendum quando nouus a clero et populo sublimatur in regnum, etc. Nelson, 'The Second English Ordo', p. 362. C. Vogel et R. Elze, Le pontifical romano-germanique du dixième siècle, I, Studi e testi, 226 (Città del Vaticano, 1963), pp. 246-59 et 267-9; voir aussi, p. 261. Cet ordo a été édité par Marcus Magistretti, Pontificale in usum Mediolanensis necnon ordines Ambrosiani ex codicibus saecc. IX-XV, Monumenta veteris liturgiae ambrosianae (Milan, 1893), pp. 112-20, d'après le ms. de Milan, Bibl. capit. ms. D. 1. Il. Le second manuscrit est celui du Vatican, Bibl. Apost. Vaticana, Vat. ms. lat. 13151. On verra les deux études mentionnées au-dessus, Nelson, 'The Earliest Royal Ordo·. pp. 341-60, et eadem, 'The Second English Ordo', pp. 361-74. Ce point peut être discuté: il se peut en effet que ce soit Hincmar qui s'inspira de l'ordo de Sens; il conviendrait alors de faire remonter la date du Pontifical de Sens (cf. supra, n. 10) qui contient cet ordo d'une génération.


Guy Lanoë

composition de ces deux sources de l'ordo de Ratold pourrait remonter aux années 880-890. C'est donc dans ce contexte qu'il faut placer un nouveau venu, une Consecratio regis in regem qui n'a, à ma connaissance, jamais retenu l'attention des érudits.21

*** La structure d'ensemble, les oraisons ou formules, et le résultat de la collation avec quelques ordines qui lui sont comparables retiennent l'attention. Cette Consecratio regis in regem se compose en premier lieu de l'oraison Omnipotens eternae deus creator omnium, puis de la formule d'onction Deus dei filius; il est ensuite procédé à la remise de deux regalia, la couronne et le sceptre; la cérémonie s'achève avec la fameuse invocation Sta et retine. Nous retrouvons donc ici cinq des sept formules que comporte l' Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet. Deux regalia sont donc absentes: la remise de l'anneau et celle du glaive. Si cette absence démarque la Consecratio regis in regem de l'Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet, 22 elle le rapproche de l'ordo de Louis le Bègue,23 en 877, qui se compose d'abord de la bénédiction Deus qui populis tuis issue de l'ordo de 869, 24 puis vient la Sac ri unctio olei - elle fait irrémédiablement penser à la Sacri olei infusio de l'ordo de Louis le Bègue-qui est issue de l'oraison Omnipotens eteme deus creator omnium du l'ordo de Leyde; on procède alors à la remise de deux regalia, la couronne et le sceptre, bien qu'ici la formulation, issue pour la première de l'ordo de 869, soit différente. Mais, au lieu du Sta et retine de l'ordo de Leyde, la cérémonie de 21

J'ai cependant déjà mentionné l'existence de cet ordo, voir Guy Lanoë, 'Les ordines de couronnement (930-1050): retour au manuscrit', Le roi de France et son royaume autour de l'an mil. Actes du colloque Hugues Capet 9871987. La France de l'an Mil. Paris-Senlis, 22-25 juin 1987. Études réunies par M. Parisse et X. Barral i Altet (Paris, 1992), pp. 65--6. 22 Erdmann, pp. 87-9. 23 Éd. Krause, MGH Capitularia, II, 461-2. 24 Ibid., pp. 456-9.

L'ordo de couronnement de Charles le Chauve


877 s'achève par un ensemble de bénédictions, les unes extraites des sacramentaires grégoriens et gélasiens, les autres composées par Hincmar pour le couronnement de Charles le Chauve, en 869, à Metz, bénédictions auxquelles l'archevêque a procédé à quelques additions. Il est donc important de faire ressortir ici que la structure de l'ordo de Leyde et la structure de l'ordo de Louis le Bègue sont absolument parallèles. Les oraisons-ou formules-de l'ordo de Leyde ménagent apparemment peu de surprises: celui-ci donne cinq des sept formules qui composent I' Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet. Nous savons déjà que la totalité de l' Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet est passé dans le 'Pontifical romano-germanique du xe siècle', et dans l'ordo lombard.25 Il faut faire intervenir ici un quatrième ordo dont on parle toujours trop peu: l'ordo bourguignon. Cet ordo bourguignon n'est connu qu'à travers des manuscrits postérieurs à la seconde moitié du xne siècle, il n'est connu qu'à travers les éditions qu'en ont données dom Edmond Martène26 et Eduard Eichmann,27 et une véritable édition critique en reste à faire. Cette édition critique devra prendre en compte le pontifical de Salzbourg adapté à l'usage de l'Église de Sion, manuscrit de la fin du x1esiècle conservé à la Bibliothèque capitulaire d'Aoste (cod. 15) dont Robert Amiet a donné une édition28 en pensant qu'il s'agissait d'un fragment (le manuscrit ne donne que l'oraison Omnipotens eternae deus creator omnium) du

25 Éd. Magistretti, Pontificale ... Mediolanensis, pp. 112-20. 26 Dom Edmond Martène, De antiquis ecclesiae ritibus, II (Anvers, 1736), col. 634-6, ex ms. pontificali ecclesiae Are/atensis ante annos 400. scripto, soit le ms. de Paris, BN, lat. 1220. 27 Eduard Eichmann, 'Die sog. Romische Konigskronungformcl', Historische Jahrbuch, XL (1925), 5 I 8-20, d'après le ms. du Vatican, Bibl. Apost. Vaticana, Ottob. lat. 256. 2 8 Ce petit pontifical plein d'intérêt a été édité par Robert Amiet, Pontificale Augustanum. Le pontifical du X/e siècle de la Bibliothèque capitulaire d'Aoste ( Cod. 15), Monumenta liturgie a ecclesiae Augustanae, 3 ( Aoste, 1975).

Guy Lanoë


Pontifical romano-germanique du xe siècle (LXX, 11),29 alors qu'il s'agit bien d'une copie tronquée de l'ordo bourguignon. Or de quoi est composé cet ordo? Débarrassé des rubriques ajoutées au xne et au XIIIe siècles, on s'aperçoit qu'il se compose seulement de huit formules. Il commence par une formule de promesse d'une forte connotation carolingienne. Viennent ensuite les cinq formules de l'ordo de Leyde;30 la première, l'oraison Omnipotens eternae deus creator omnium présente de sensibles lacunes comparée à la même oraison dans l'ordo de Leyde; les trois oraisons suivantes sont rigoureusement identiques; en revanche le Sta et retine gomme toute référence à la succession par hérédité. Il s'achève par deux bénédictions connues: elles constituent la Benedictio regalis du sacramentaire gélasien de Munich (clm 14150, fol. 73r-v), manuscrit originaire de Saint-Emmeran de Ratisbonne et que des laudes permettent de dater en 824 et 827.3 1 L'ordo de Leyde est donc très proche, si l'on ne prend en compte que les oraisons, de )'Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet et de l'ordo bourguignon; en revanche il s'éloigne de ce dernier par l'absence de toute référence à la succession par hérédité. Mais il est frappant de constater que, hors la formule initiale de promesse et les deux bénédictions finales, l'ordo bourguignon n'en a retenu que cinq formules, les cinq formules de l'ordo de Leyde. Dans l'édition donnée au-dessous, apparaissent les variantes les plus significatives des ordines qui lui sont contemporains. Quelques variantes textuelles significatives peuvent être relevées: 29 Ibid., p. 163.

30 Voir le tableau, infra. 3 I On prie pour le pape Eugène II (824-827), l'empereur Louis le Pieux (814-

840), l'évêque de Ratisbonne Baturic (8 I 7-848), et Louis le Germanique (roi depuis le partage d'Aix-la-Chapelle, en 817). Sur ce manuscrit, voir M. Andrieu, Les ordines romani du haut moyen âge, l, Les manuscrits, Spicilegium sacrum Lovaniense, 11 (Louvain, 1931), pp. 232-8. La benedictio super principem et la benedictio regalis ont été éditées par G. Waitz, 'Die Formeln der Deutschen Konigs- und der Rômischen Kaiser-Krônung vom zehnten bis zum zwolften Jahrhundert', Abhandlungen der HistorischPhi/ologischen Klasse der Koniglichen Gesel/schaft der Wissenschaften zu Gottingen, XVIII( 1873), 90-2.

L'ordo de couronnement de Charles le Chauve Consecratio regis: a dominus] dominusque OQ, P~OL c tuo om. OQ, PRG, OL 1 compleat] placeat OQ, PRG, OL t sed ad pristine] et ad uere OQ. PRG.OL v utrorumque om. OQ, PRG, OL z de hostibus om. OQ. PRG, OL aa christum om. OQ, PRG C, D, G et V, OL


Coronae rega/is inpositio: a igitur om. OQ, PRG, OL, Ratold

Sceptri traditio: b docere] pandere OQ, PRG, OL; doce Ratold c lapsisque] lapsis OQ, PRG, OL

Ces quelques variantes données à titre d'exemples présentent un double intérêt. En premier lieu, elles démarquent l'ordo de Leyde de tous les ordines que l'on pouvait supposer, a priori, les plus proches, c'est-à-dire l' Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet, et le 'Pontifical romano-gennanique du xesiècle'. En second lieu, ces variantes se retrouvent pour la plupart dans 1" Ordo bourguignon', dans l'ordo de Louis le Bègue, celui de Sens, et l'ordo de Ratold. Ces derniers sont toujours en accord avec l'ordo de Leyde. Il est non moins intéressant de remarquer que ces variantes du tronc 'gennanique' ne se retrouvent jamais dans l'ordo de Louis le Bègue, dans l'ordo de Sens et, au-delà, dans la version Ratold de la seconde recension de l'ordo anglo-saxon. Alors que, bien évidemment, l'ordo de Leyde apparaît comme le précurseur de l'Ordo qua/iter rex ordinari debet (et c'est pourquoi nous en avons donné les variantes), il ne peut être comparé qu'à deux ordines: l'ordo de Louis le Bègue et à l'ordo bourguignon. La structure de la Consecratio regis in regem et de l'ordo de Louis II le Bègue serait donc, somme toute, assez parallèle, n'eussent été les engagements demandés au roi. En 877, une promesse extrêmement contraignante est exigée de Louis avant son couronnement. Telle qu'elle est fonnulée par Hincmar de Reims lui-même, on peut même y voir la condition sine qua non de l'élévation du roi au trône.32 Rien de tel dans l'ordo de Leyde: si le principe de la succession par hérédité est rappelé, on demande seulement au roi de respecter la tradition (soit de maintenir les privilèges des évêques et 32

Annales Bertiniani, s. a. 877, pp. 138-9.


Guy Lanoë

des serviteurs de Dieu), et d'être le médiateur entre les clercs et le peuple comme l'Église l'est entre Dieu et les hommes. Il s'agit donc d'un engagement de pure forme qui, rejeté à la fin de la cérémonie, n'influe nullement sur le couronnement proprement-dit: c'est une déclaration de principe, peut-être même seulement une déclaration d' intention.33 De cette discussion sur le texte proprement-dit de la Consecratio regis in regem, il ressort d'abord que les oraisons se retrouvent au complet dans l'ordo bourguignon, l' Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet et tous les ordines qui en découlent. Mais par sa structure, c'est de l'ordo composé par Hincmar de Reims pour le sacre et le couronnement de Louis le Bègue, en 877, que l'ordo de Leyde se rapproche le plus. Enfin la confrontation de la Consecratio regis in regem avec les ordines du 1xeet du début du xesiècle montre l'existence d'un tronc commun découlant de l' Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet et se poursuivant au-delà vers le pontifical romano-germanique du xe siècle, et d'un second tronc ayant pour origine notre Consecratio regis in regem et se développant d'une part dans l'ordo bourguignon et d'autre part dans l'ordo de Louis le Bègue et au-delà, vers l'ordo de Sens et celui de Ratold (voir tableau). Deux points particuliers retiennent enfin l'attention: le couronnement de la reine, et la mention Rex Francorum et Aquitanorum. Le manuscrit de Leyde ne comporte pas d'ordo pour le couronnement de la reine; en revanche, cette Consecratio regis in regem est aménagée, par suscription, pour son couronnement. On peut se perdre ici en conjectures. Il est possible, légitimement, de penser que le compilateur de cet ordo n'avait pas de rite de couronnement pour la reine à sa disposition, qu'il s'agit donc seulement d'une lacune de sa documentation. Rappelons cependant qu'Hincmar écrivit un ordo, en 856, pour le mariage de la fille de Charles le Chauve, Judith, avec le roi .tEthelwulf de Wessex et son 33 Si cet aspect subsiste, bien s0r, dans I' Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet, il est complétement annihilé dans l'ordo coronationis du pontifical romanogermanique du xe siècle, compilé vers 960 à Mayence, par l'emploi de I' Ordo ad regem benedicendum quando nouus a clero et populo sublimatur in regnum (éd. Erdmann, Forschungen zur politischen ldeenwelt, pp. 83-7), écrit sans doute pour Je couronnement d'Otton 1er,en 936.

L'ordo de couronnement de Charles le Chauve


couronnement;3 4 il en écrivit un second en 866 pour la femme de Charles le Chauve, Ermintrude.3 5 Le premier ordo pour le couronnement d'une reine qui connût, pour apparaître dans les pontificaux, une diffusion certaine, est l' Ordo ad ordinandam reginam qui suit l' Ordo ad ordinandum regem dans le pontifical de Sens de la Bibliothèque publique d'État Saltykov-Scedrine de Saint-Pétersbourg36. Sa diffusion fut grande puisqu'il resurgit, en une version brève, en Angleterre dans le 'Pontifical de Lanalete' (Rouen, BM ms. 368),37 et en Bourgogne, en une version longue, dans le 'Pontifical d'Aoste', pontifical de Salzbourg adapté à l'usage de l'Église de Sion.3 8 Ce dernier rite de couronnement de reine, différent de celui que l'on trouvera au xne siècle dans les manuscrits bourguignons, présente une triple particularité. Il précède, en premier lieu, l'ordo de couronnement du roi, appelé ici Consecratio regis.39 Son intitulé, ensuite, Ordo qualiter regina consecratur, fait irrésistiblement penser à celui de l' Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet. Il comprend, enfin, deux pièces qui ne seront pas reprises dans l' Ordo ad ordinandam reginam de la Francie occidentale: une onction sur la tête, qui équivaut à un véritable sacre, et une longue oraison finale, cette dernière empruntant largement à la cérémonie nuptiale des sacramentaires du VIIIe 34 Coronatio ludithae Il fi/iae, éd. Krause, MGH Capitularia, II, 425- 7. 35 Coronatio Hermintrudis reginae, in ibid., pp. 453-5. 36 Rappelons que de cet ordo découlent toutes les cérémonies de couronnement des reines de la seconde recension anglo-saxonne, aussi bien dans la version A (Ratold) que dans la version B; Nelson, 'The Second English Ordo', p. 363, en donne la liste. 37 G. H. Doble, éd., Pontificale Lanalentense (Bibliothèque de la Ville de Rouen A. 27. Cat. 368). A Pontificalformely in use at St. Germans, Cornwall, Henry Bradshaw Society, 74 (Londres, 1937), pp. 41-2. Il est remarquable que l'ordo de couronnement de la reine n'est pas situé, comme c'est habituellement le cas, après l'ordo de couronnement du roi; il se trouve ailleurs, entre la cérémonie ln reconciliatione atrii uel ecclesie et la Benedictio uirginum. 38 Amiet, Pontificale augustanum, pp. 161-3. 39 L'ordo du roi est ici incomplet et ne comporte que la première oraison, Omnipotens eternae deus, creator omnium. On y remarque .la même lacune (!), au milieu de cette oraison, que dans l"Ordo de Bourgogne/Provence', cf. le tableau, infra.



siècle qu'Hincmar de Reims utilisera tout aussi largement pour la rédaction de l'ordo de Judith. Enfin, l'Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet est doté d'un ordo d'une tout autre nature pour la reine, et il est admis qu'il vit le jour dans les années 880-90. La seule conclusion possible est que la Consecratio regis in regem fut adaptée pour le couronnement d'une reine car il n'existait alors aucun ordo spécifique pour elle; on doit donc considérer que la rédaction de la Consecratio regis in regem est antérieure à 856. 40 Cet ordo a été composé pour un roi de France et d'Aquitaine, ce qui peut s'appliquer à de nombreux rois carolingiens-voire Robertiens-mais la formule même du Sta et retine en exclut de nombreux, puisqu'il affirme le principe de la succession par hérédité; de plus la phrase Hucusque paterna successione tenuisti. hereditario iure tibi delegatur exclut une succession du vivant du père. Un certain nombre de noms viennent spontanément à l'esprit. Louis le Pieux est le premier, bien sûr, mais il fut couronné et associé au titre impérial le 11 septembre 813. 41 Louis II le Bègue se vit confier le royaume d'Aquitaine le 6 mars 867 mais, si le titre royal lui fut conféré, il n'est fait nulle part mention de couronnement ou de sacre. 4 2 Raoul est qualifié de Rex Francorum et Aquitanorum dans un diplôme en faveur de Tulle, 43 mais ce document ne semble être que la reprise d'un diplôme en faveur de Cluny et n'offre pas toutes les garanties voulues. Louis V fut sans doute couronné une seconde fois roi, à Brioude en 982, par les évêques de la province de Bourges, à l'occasion de

40 Le couronnement des reines pose dès l'origine bien des problèmes; il est hors

de propos de les développer ici, mais je me réserve d'y revenir. 41 Bautier, 'Sacres et couronnements', p. 24, n. 58. 42 Ibid., p. 44, n. 120. 4 3 A Anatiacum, le 13 septembre 933: ' ... Rodulfus, gratia Dei, Francorum et Aquitanorum atque Burgundionum rex pius ·, Chartes et diplômes relatifs à

l'histoire de France. Recueil des actes de Robert 1er et de Raoul rois de France (922-926) (Paris, 1978), pp. 21, 95; pour un rapprochement entre ce diplôme et celui de Cluny, le 9 septembre 927, voir ibid., pp. 93-4.

L'ordo de couronnement de Charles le Chauve


son mariage avec Adélaïde d' Anjou. 44 Mais son père était toujours vivant.45 Il reste Charles le Chauve. Le 13 décembre 838, Pépin 1er d'Aquitaine mourait. Le 30 mai, par l'acte de Worms, le vieil empereur Louis le Pieux dépouillait les enfants de Pépin des provinces attribuées à leur père au profit de son jeune fils, Charles, mais il ne semble pas que cette passation de pouvoir ait donné lieu à une autre cérémonie que la commendation des grands et leur prestation de serment; et puis Louis le Pieux était toujours vivant. Cette décision fut contestée en Aquitaine, où un puissant parti prit fait et cause pour le fils aîné de Pépin 1er, Pépin Il. La révolte, jamais matée, dura jusqu'en 848, jusqu'à ce que les Aquitains, lassés de l'inertie de Pépin II devant les exactions des Normands, demandent à repasser sous l'autorité de Charles le Chauve, qui venait de faire campagne jusqu'à la Garonne. Celui-ci reçut donc le serment des grands à Limoges, 46 puis, ajoute l'évêque de Troyes, Prudence: 'dans la ville d'Orléans, presque tous les grands, réunis aux évêques et aux abbés, élisent Charles pour leur roi et le consacrent par l'onction du saint chrême et par la bénédiction épiscopale' ,47 le 6 juin. La situation géographique d'Orléans, en Francia mais à la frontière de l' Aquitaine et proche de la Bourgogne, n'est bien sûr pas sans signification. De plus, cette cérémonie se déroula pendant le plaid général annuel, et rassembla donc les grands, les archevêques et évêques des différentes parties du royaume. Enfin, l'officiant (ou consécrateur) fut Wenilon, l'archevêque de la région franco-bourguignonne de Sens. 44

Bautier,'Sacres et couronnements', p. 50, nn. 157 et 158.

4 5 Il semble qu'il n'y eOt alors, en 986, qu'une prestation de sennent de fidelité,

cf. Bautier, 'Sacres et couronnements', p. 52 et n. 159.

46 Sur cette période mouvementée, on pourra voir F. Lot et L. Halphen, le règne de Charles le Chauve, I: Première partie, 840-851 (Paris, 1909), pp. 189-91, Levillain, 'Le sacre de Charles le Chauve', pp. 51-3 et Bautier, 'Sacres et couronnements', p. 34. 47 ·Aquitani, desidia inertiaque Pippini coacti, Karolum petunt, atque in urbe Aurelianorum omnes pene nobiliores cum episcopis et abbatis in regem eligunt, sacroque crismate delibutum et benedictione episcopi sollemniter consecrant', Annales Bertiniani, s.a. 848, p. 36.


Guy Lanoë

Léon Levillain a montré, dans une remarquable étude consacrée au Sacre de Charles le Chauve à Orléans, 4 8 qu'en la circonstance Charles n'avait pas été sacré seulement comme roi d'Aquitaine, mais pour l'ensemble de son royaume. Rien ne montre, en effet, que Charles aît été sacré roi avant 848. En revanche, deux faits concordent pour faire du 6 juin 848 la date décisive du règne de Charles. Charles demande, en premier lieu, aux abbayes de Saint-Germaindes-Près et de Saint-Denis de commémorer la date de son sacre: le 19 septembre 862, dans un diplôme en faveur de Saint-Denis, 49 et le 20 avril 872, dans un diplôme en faveur de Saint-Germain-des-Près, Charles demande aux religieux de célébrer l'anniversaire de sa naissance et de son sacre par un repas, 50 il fixe la date du repas commémoratif de son sacre le 6 juin. En 859, lors de l'assemblée de Savonnières, le roi de la Francia occidentalis prononce un violent réquisitoire contre l'archevêque de Sens, Wenilon, accusé d'infidélité. Dans son argumentation, Charles rappelle que 'par son choix et celui des autres évêques, par la volonté, le consentement et l'acclamation de tous les fidèles de son royaume, avec les autres archevêques et évêques, Wenilon, dans son propre diocèse, à Orléans, dans la basilique de Sainte-Croix, [le] consacra roi selon la tradition ecclésiastique, [l]'oignit du saint chrême dans le gouvernement du royaume, et, par le diadème et le sceptre, [l]'éleva sur le trône' .51 Il est remarquable enfin qu'aucune de nos Levillain, 'Le sacre de Charles le Chauve'. pp. 31-53. 'Quae dispositio nostra talis habetur, videlicet ut idibus mensis junii, quando Deus me nasci in mundo voluit, et octavo julii (corr. junii), quando Sanctus sanctorum ungi in regem sua dignatione disposuit', Chartes et diplômes relatifs à l'histoire de France, Recueil des actes de Charles Il le Chauve roi de France', Il (861-877) (Paris, 1952), no. 246. 50 • ... in idibus junii, quando Deus nos nasci in mundo voluit, et octavo ictus junii, quando Rex regum nos ungi in regem sua dignatione disposuit', Recueil des actes de Charles le Chauve, II. no. 363. Cet acte a été rédigé à SaintDenis. 51 'Sed et post hoc, electione sua aliorumque episcoporum ac creterorum fidelium regni nostri voluntate, consensu et acclamatione, cum aliis archiepiscopis et episcopis, Wenilo, in diocesi sua, apud Aurelianis civitatem, in basilica sanctae Crucis me, secundum traditionem ecclesiasticam, Regem consecravit, et in regni regimine chrismate sacro perunxit, et diademate atque 48 49

L'ordo de couronnement de Charles le Chauve


sources, depuis Prudence de Troyes jusqu'à Hincmar en passant par Charles le Chauve en personne, ne fasse référence à l'unique Aquitaine; en revanche toutes désignent 1'ensemble du royaume, la Francia occidentalis. On notera enfin que Charles prit, après 848, dans quelques diplômes le titre de rex Francorum et Aquitanorum. 52 Léon Levillain l'avait fort bien montré, Charles le Chauve ne fut pas sacré et couronné avant le 6 juin 848. Alors il fut couronné pour 1'ensemble de son royaume. Voici maintenant 1'ordo de couronnement utilisé à 1'occasion de cette cérémonie. La courte description qu'en donne le roi Charles dans son Libellus contre Wenilon ne laisse subsister aucun doute: Regem consecravit (c'est la première oraison), et in regni regimine chrismate sacro perunxit (la Sacri unctio olei), et diademate (la coronae regalis impositio) atque regni sceptro (la sceptri traditio) in regni solio sublimavit (la regii status designatio). La précision de ces lignes suggère même que leur auteur avait l'ordo de couronnement sous les yeux. Sans doute n'est-il pas sans intérêt de rappeler que la 'main' du roi était Hincmar. Le second fragment du manuscrit de la Bibliothèque universitaire de Leyde, Voss. lat. Q. 13 livre l'ordo du sacre et couronnement de Charles le Chauve, le 8 juin 848, à Sainte-Croix d'Orléans. Cet Consecratio regis in regem est, par l'intermédiaire de l'Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet, une première bouture de l'ordo coronationis romanogermanique du xe siècle. Mais il est aussi à la base de l'ordo de Louis le Bègue, de celui de Sens et, au-delà, de celui de Ratold. Voilà qui devrait maintenant relancer le débat sur l'évaluation du rôle reregni sceptro in regni solio sublimavit', Libellus proc/amationis Karo/i adversus Wenilonem, éd. Kause, MGH Capitularia, II, 451-2. Ceci fait écho à la lettre d'Hincmar de Reims à Louis le Germanique: 'Maxime autem nobis necesse est loqui cum illis archiepiscopi et episcopi, qui consensu et voluntate populi regni istius domnum nostrum, fratrem vestrum, unxerunt in regem sacro chrismate divina traditione; quemque sancta sedes apostolica mater nostra litteris apostolicis ut regem honorare studuit et confirmare', a. 858, Epistola synodi Carisiacensis ad Ludowicum regem, éd. Krause, MGH Capitularia, Il, 439. 52 Diplôme pour Saint-Martin de Tours, à Quierzy-sur-Oise, le 1er mai 849, Recueil des actes de Charles li le Chauve roi de France', I, p. 301; voir aussi le diplôme du 21 juin 849, à Auzainville, ibid., p. 304.



spectif des métropoles de Sens et de Reims pendant l'époque carolingienne.

*** Leyde, RijksuniversiteitBibliotheek,Voss. lat. Q. 13 La Consecratio regis in regem se trouve à la fin d'un fragment de sacramentaire grégorien relié dans un recueil factice de la Rijksuniversiteit Bibliotheek de Leyde, enregistré sous la cote Vossianus latinus Q. 13. Pour une description détaillée de ce manuscrit, on verra, bien entendu, l'excellente notice que lui consacre K.A. De Meyier dans son catalogue.53 Cependant, pour situer le contexte, quelques brèves remarques s'imposent, sur le manuscrit, sur le fragment et sur la partie du fragment qui nous intéressent. Parchemin. 54 fols 5 fragments reliés ensemble, probablement par Paul Petau. I - Fols 1-3, 3*, 4-14. XIe siècle. 1 - ff. 1-3: Ps.-Hippocrates, Epistula ad Maecenatem. 2 - ff. 3*-6v: Ps.-Antonivs Mvsa, De herba uettonica. 3 - ff. 6v0 -14v: . Origine française. Possesseurs: P. Petau; A. Petau; Christine de Suède; ls. Vossius; Ger. Vossius. II - Fols 15-30. Fin xe siècle. 1 - ff. 15-18: . 2 - ff. 18-26v: , excerpta. 3 - ff. 27-30: , excerpta. Nous reviendrons en-dessous sur ce fragment qui est celui qui nous intéresse ici. III - Fols 31-38. XIIIesiècle. l - fols 31-35: . 2 - fols 35-37: , Excerptum. Origine française. Possesseurs: voir supra, 1. IV - Fols 39-45. 2e moitié du XIIJCsiècle. . Origine italienne: Orvieto. Possesseurs: S. Victor Parisiensis. Pour les autres possesseurs, voir supra, 1. 53 K. A. De Meyier, Codices Vossiani Latini, pars II: Codices

(Leyde, 1975), pp. 36-41.

in Quarto

L'ordo de couronnement de Charles le Chauve


V - Fols 46-53. XII/XIIIesiècle. I - fols 46-52v: A. Persius Flaccus, Satirae. 2 - fols 52v-53: Quaedam de Persii uita et opere. Origine française: Paris? Possesseurs: S. Victor Parisiensis? P. Daniel. Pour les autres possesseurs, voir supra, l.

Ce recueil contient cinq parties, totalement indépendantes, tant par les centres d'intérêt (médecine, liturgie, correspondance, Satires de Persée), que la date (du milieu du xe siècle au XIIIe siècle), ou l'origine (française ou italienne); rien ne justifie la réunion de ces cinq pièces sous une même reliure, si ce n'est un élément purement matériel: le format des feuillets. Toujours est-il que ces cinq fragments furent très certainement assemblés par Paul Petau. Ce manuscrit composite passa ensuite à Alexandre Petau, puis à Christine de Suède, et enfin aux Vossius. Ce manuscrit est donc à Leyde depuis la seconde moitié du xvne siècle. Le second fragment (fols 15-30. Fin xe) retiendra bien sûr notre attention. En voici une description plus détaillée: 16 fols 272 x 183 mm (210 x 125-30 mm) de 24 longues lignes, constitués de 2 quaternions. Réglure à la pointe sèche. Piqûres ext.; piqûres sup. et inf. rognées. Minuscule caroline: trois mains ( 15-21 v, 23-26v; 22r-v; 27-30), indifférentes aux trois grandes sections de ce fragment. I - fols 15-18: . 2 - fols 18-26v: , excerpta. 3 -fols 27-30: , excerpta. a) fol. 27: ln cena Domini ad missam. Deshusses 328. b) fols 27-28: Incipit benedictio chrismatis principalis, Deshusses 335. c) fol. 28: Exorcismus olei, Deshusses 336. d) fol. 28r-v: Benedictio in ramis palmarum, Deshusses 1751. e) fols 28v-30: Consecratio regis in regem.

La troisième main est responsable de la Consecratio regis in regem. Elle dénote, avec l'allongement des hastes, un scribe familiarisé avec l'écriture diplomatique. Il subsiste de nombreux archaïsmes, comme le a ouvert, l'abréviation m ou n, l'emploi du & dans le corps même des mots (mansu&udinem, fr&us, etc.), et l'usage systématique du œ ou ae (le e cédillé n'intervient que deux



fois, et il y a tout lieu de penser qu'il ne s'agit que de corrections plus tardives). Ligatures: st, et, et et rt. Origine française. Reims selon Carey, Scriptorium de Reims,54 rejeté par De Meyier, pour qui ce manuscrit viendrait plutôt du nordest de la France. Guy Lobrichon, qui prépare en ce moment l'édition du pontifical de Sens conservé à Saint-Pétersbourg, est frappé par la ressemblance de cette écriture avec celle que l'on trouve alors couramment entre la Loire et Châlons-sur-Marne (abréviation mus et nus, l'allongement des hastes, la forme&, et l'abréviation q.). Possesseurs. On sait peu choses de l'histoire de ce manuscrit entre sa confection dans la province ecclésiastique de Sens et sa réapparition entre les mains de Paul Petau. Cependant, au fol. 30v, on lit: lste liber est magistri Gale rani de Pendre/ in medicina, artibus et sacra pagina professoris quem emit Auinione precii Ill florenorum currentium. Ce manuscrit était donc à la fin du XIVe siècle entre les mains de Galeran de Penderfe qui est un personnage connu: 55 Galeran de Penderfe était un clerc du diocèse de Quimper, qui fut écolier du Collège de Navarre à Paris. Il fut maître ès-arts de l'Université de Paris, puis maître en médecine (1369), licencié en théologie (1374), régent à la faculté de théologie de l'Université de Paris (1387), et doyen (1403). Chanoine prébendé et chantre de Notre-Dame, il laissa par testament (du 9 juin 1404) ses livres au chapitre de NotreDame.56 54 F. M. Carey,

'The Scriptorium of Reims during the archbishopric of Hincmar', Classical and Mediaeval Studies in Honor of Edward Kennard Rand, éd. L. W. Jones (New York, 1938), p. 60. 55 Voir Ernest Wickersheimer, Dictionnaire biographique des médecins en France au moyen âge (Paris, 1936), p. 164. Pour sa carrière, on verra H. Denifle, Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, III (Paris, 1894), pp. 84, 923, n. 10, 189, 190, n. 3,446. 56 Paris, Archives nationales, LL 336-421 passim, et Paris, Bibl. de I' Arsenal, ms. 6259 (olim 852 F), fols 1-38, partiellement édités par A. Franklin, Les anciennes bibliothèques de Paris, I (Paris, 1867), pp. 49 et 50: en 1412, les chanoines de Notre-Dame vendent un manuscrit de Nicolas de Lyra, qu'ils tenaient de Galeran, pour payer une copie des commentaires de Bonaventure sur les Sentences. Les livres légués par Galeran au chapitre de Notre-Dame valaient plus de 200 livres parisis, cf. Guérard, Cartulaire de l'église NotreDame de Paris, IV (Paris, 1850), p. 109. Voir aussi L. Delisle, Le cabinet des

L'ordo de couronnement de Charles le Chauve


Nous sommes ici en présence d'un fragment de sacramentaire grégorien supplémenté par Benoît d'Aniane, sacramentaire qui, d'après ses caractères paléographiques, a pour origine la province ecclésiastique de Sens, et plus précisément le nord de la Bourgogne ou le sud de la Champagne. L'édition. Elle doit prendre en compte les ordines qui lui sont contemporains, et qui ont été, ci-dessus, l'objet d'une présentation succincte.

Ordo bourguignon-provençal


Éd.Eichmann, 'Die sog. Romische Konigskronungsformel' (voir n. 27), pp. 518-20, d'après le ms. du Vatican, Bibl. Apost. Vaticana, Ottob. ms. lat. 256

[OBPV] Éd.Martène, De antiquis ecclesiae ritibus libri, II (voir n. 26), col. 634-36 (= Paris. BN, ms. lat. 1220) [OBP A] On verra aussi l'ordo coronationis du Pontifical de Langres, Paris, BN, ms. nouv. acq. lat. 331, fols 158v-163v [OPB L] Voir enfin Pontificale Augustanum, Éd.Amiet (voir n. 28). p. 161. Ordo de Louis le Bègue [OLB] Éd.Krause, MGH Capitularia (voir n. 4), II, 461-2.

Ordo ad ordinandum regem

[= OS]

Éd.P. E. Schramm, 'Die Kronung' (voir n. 10), d'après Saint-Pétersbourg, Bibl. publique Saltykov-Scedrine, ms. Q v. 1. 35, fols 85-94v.

Ordo de Ratold: 1ère version du Second ordo anglo-saxon (Paris, BN, ms. lat. 12052) [Ratold] Éd.Paul Ward, 'An Early Version of the Anglo-Saxon Coronation Ceremony', EHR, LVII (1942), 350-6 l. Parmi les manuscrits collationnés par Ward, on retiendra: Paris, BN, lat. 13313 [Pl] Cologne, Bibl. capit. 140 [K] L'ordo royal de ce Pontifical d'Arras, conservé à Cologne, a aussi été édité par G. Waitz, 'Die Formeln der Deutschen Konigs- und der Romischen Kaiser-Kronung' (voir n. 30), pp. 76-86.

manuscrits de la bibliothèque impériale, I (Paris, 1868), p. 429 et n. 3. Deux autres manuscrits lui ayant appartenu sont connus: Paris, BN, ms. lat. 520 (début du XIVe s.), Hugo de Sancto Caro. Bibliorum concordantiae; et Paris, BN, ms. lat. 17492 (XIIIe s.), Libellus nouus de laudibus b. Marie.



Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet ou 'Ordo der sieben Formeln', ou 'Ordo [OQ] de Stavelot' Éd.Erdmann, Forschungen zur politischen ldeenswelt (voir n. 14), pp. 87-9, d'après les manuscrits de: Bruxelles, Bibl. royale Albert 1er, ms. 2067-73 [V.D.G. 368], fols [OQSt] 109v-l IO Milan, Bibl. capit. del Capitolo Metropolitano, ms. 2D. 2. 38 [53), [OQMI] fols l l 5v- I 22 Città del Vaticano, Bibl. Apost. Vaticana, Barb. ms. lat. 631, fols 159v-62v. Nous rejetons ici le manuscrit Barberini du Vatican: le compilateur de l'ordo introduit au milieu d'un ordo du type de celui de Warmond (ou Frühdeutscher ordo) les 6 dernières oraisons de l'ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet: il en aretranché la première oraison, Consecratio regis, lui préférant l'oraison Deus qui es iustorum gloria.51 Certes, la collation le montre, le texte est plus proche de ce dernier ordo que de celui du Pontifical romano-germanique du xe siècle, mais il s'agit là une tentative de fusion de l'ordo de Warmond et de l'ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet: c'est une construction originale et cohérente. Bien sOr, le manuscrit de Milan donne aussi l'un et l'autre de ces ordines, mais ils sont seulement juxtaposés: il ne s'agit là que de copies placées l'une à la suite de l'autre, sans la moindre retouche. Le Pontifical romano-germanique du xe siècle [PRG] Éd.C. Vogel et R. Elze, Le pontifical romano-germanique du dixième siècle, 3 vol., Studi e testi, 226,227,269 (Città del Vaticano, 1963) I, pp. 246-59 Retiendront plus particulièrement notre attention les manuscrits suivants:

[PRG C] Monte-Cassino, Bibl. abb. ms. 451, fols 60-63 Rome, Bibl. Vallicelliana, ms. D. 5, fols 54v-57v [PRG D] Eischstatt, Arch. de l'Evêché, Pontifical de Gondekar II, fols 53v-55v [PRGG] Vienne, Nationalbibl., ms. lat. 701 (olim Theo). 87), fols 86--89 [PRGT] Vendôme, Bibl. mun., ms. 14, fols 45v-49 [PRG V] Ordo lombard [OL] Éd.Magistretti, Pontificale in usum Mediolanensis (voir n. 18), pp. I 12-20 (= Milan, Biblioteca capitolare del Capitolo metropolitano, ms. D 1. II (21 [H [OLM] 91), fols l03-127v) II faut ajouter le ms. Città del Vaticano, Bibl. Apost. Vaticana, Vat. lat. [= OLV] 13151, fols 52-58

57 Cf. PRG, LXXII, 17.

L' ordo de couronnement de Charles le Chauve


Leyde, Rijksuniversiteit Bibliotheek, ms. Voss. laL Q. 13, fols 28v-30 CONSECRATIO REGIS IN REGEM*

Omnipotens aeterne deus creator omnium. imperator angelorum. rex regnantium. dominus dominantiuma. qui abraham fidelemb famulum tuum de hostibus triumphare fecisti. moysi et iosuae populo tuoc praelatis. multiplicem uictoriam tribuisti. humilemqued dauid puerum tuum regni fastigio sublimasti. et salomonem sapientiae pacisque ineffabili munere ditasti. Respice quesumus ad preces humilitatis nostrae.e et super hunc famulum tuum .i!V quern supplici deuotione in regem francorum et equitanorumg pariterh eligimus. benedictionum tuarum donai multiplica. eumque dextera tuae potentiae semper et ubique circumda. Quatenus predicti abrahae fidelitate firmatus. moysi mansuetudine fretus. iosuae fortitudine munitusk dauid humilitate exaltatus. salomonis sapientia decoratus. tibi in omnibus complaceat. 1 et per tramitem iustitiae inoffenso gressum semper incedat." °Eccltssiamque ecquitanam et frantiamP deinceps cum plebibus sibi adnexis ita enutriat. ac doceat. muniat. et instruat. contraque omnes uisibiles. et inuisibiles hostes. eidemq potenter regaliterque tuae uirtutis regimen amministret. ut francorum regnumr non deserat.s sed ad pristine 1 fidei pacisque concordiam eorum animos te opitulante reformet. ut utrorumque~· horum populorum debita subiectione fultus. condigno"' amore glorificatusx ad paternum decenter • Titulus: Consecratio regis. Incipit ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet OL. Oremus OBP. Ordo qualiter rex ordinari debet OQ St, debetur OQMi, Alia PRG. Consecratio regis Ratold. a dominus dominantium] dominusque dominantium OL. OQ. PRG b om. OLB,OS c om. OL. OQ. PRG; (=. OLB, OS. OBP, Ratold) d humilemque] humilem quoque OLB. OS. Ratold e nostrae humilitatis Ratold fill.] N. OLM, OBP. OQ. PRG g regem francorum et equitanorum) regnum .N. albionis totius uidelicet francorum Ratold h francorum et aquitanorum pariter] om. OL, OBP. OQ. PRG i dona] in co add. OL, 0Q k iosuae fortitudine munitus] om. OBP I placeat OL. OQ. PRG; (= OBP. Ratold) m gradu OL "capiat OBP o--o ecclesiamque ... feliciter capiat] om. OBP P ecquitanam et frantiam] tuam OL. OQ. PRG; ecclesiamque ecquitanam et frantiam] et totius albionis ecclesiam Ratold q idem Ratold r francorum regnum] regale solium uidelicet francorum sceptra Ratold s ut francorum regnum non deserat] om. OL. OQ. PRG 1 sed ad pristine] et ad uere OL, OQ. PRG; (= Ratold) '' om. OL. OQ. PRG; (= Ratold) w condigno) cum digno OQM.OQSt x glorificetur OL. OQSt


Guy Lanoe

solium tua miseratione conscendereY mereatur. Tuae quoque protectionis galea munitus. et scuto insuperabili iugiter protectus. arrnisque caelestibus circumdatus. optabilis uictoriae triumphum de hostibusz feliciter capiat. 0 Terroremque suae potentiae infidelibus inferat. et pacem tibi militantibus Iaetanter reportet per christumaa dominum nostrum. Qui uirtuteab crucisac tartara destruxit. regnoquead diaboli superato_ae ad caelos uictor ascendit. In quo potestas omnis regumquea/ consisti~8 uictoria. qui est gloria humilium. et uita salusque populorum ah Qui tecum uiuit et regnat. in unitate spiritus sancti deus. per omnia secula seculorum. Amen.

SACRI UNCT/0 OLEI* Deus dei filius iesus christus dominus noster. qui a patre. oleoa exultationis unctus est prae participibus suis. ipse perh praesentem sacri unguinisc infusionem. spiritus paraclyti super caput tuum infundat benedictionem eandemque usque ad interiora cordis tui penetrare facial Juatenus hoe uisibili et tractabili dono. inuisibilia percipere. et temporali regno iustis moderaminibus exsecuto. aetemaliter cum eo regnare merearis. qui solus sine peccato rex regum uiuit. et gloriatur cum deo patre in unitate spiritus sancti deus. per omnia secula seculorum. Amen. CORONAE REGALIS INPOSIT/0* Accipe igitu~ coronam regni. quae Iicet ab indignis. episcoporum tamenb manibus capiti tuo imponitur. quamquec sanctitatis gloriam et honorem. et opus

Y ad paternum decenter solium tua miseratione) per longum uitae spatium paternae apicem gloriae tua miseratione unatim stabilire et gubemare Ratold z de hostibus) om. OL, OQ. PRG; (= OBP, Ratold) aa om. OL, OQ, PRG C. D. Get V; (= 0BP) ah uirtute) sanctae add. PRG ac crucis) potestates aereas debellauit add. Ratold ad regnumque Ratold ae superauit Ratold a/ regnique OBP ag consistat OL V ah In quo potestas omnis regumque consistit uictoria. qui est gloria humilium. et uita salusque populorum) in cuius manu uictoria. omnis gloria et potestas consistunt Ratold

• Titulus: Sacri unctio olei. Sacri benedictio olei OL, Oratio OBP, Sacri unctio chrismatis OQSt, Item alia PRG, Alia Ratold a om. OL b om. OL c unctionis OQSt, unguimus (sic) Ratold d temporali regno) temporalia regna Ratold, PI et K • Titulus: Carone regalis impositio] Cum regi corona imponitur. omnes episcopi qui adsunt manibus suis earn tenere dcbent. metropolitani earn tenentc. et capiti eius imponente atque dicente add. OBP; Postea metropolitanus verenter coronam capiti rcgis imponat. dicens PRG a om. OL, OQ. PRG; (= OBP) b om. OBP except. Va c eamque PRG C, D, T et V

L' ordo de couronnement de Charles le Chauve


fortitudinis expressed signare intelligas. Et per bane te participem ministerii nostri non ignores. Itae ut sicut nos in interioribus pastores rectoresque animarum intelligimurf tu quoque in exterioribus uerus/0 dei cultor/llir. strenuusl" queK contra omnes aduersitates aecclesiae christi defensoil',atrix. Regnique tibi a deo dati. et per officium nostrae benedictionis in uice apostolorum omniumque sanctorum tuo regimini commissi. utilis ex[s]ecutorlrix regnator/rixque proficuusl" semper appareas. ut inter gloriososl" athlaetasresina uirtutum gemmis ornatusl". et premio sempitem(i felicitatis coronatus!'- Cum redemptore ac saluatorei nostrok christo/C"m dei genitrice_ cuius nomen uicemque gestare crederis. sine fine glorieris. Qui uiuit et imperat deus. cum deo patre in unitate spiritus sancti. Per .

SCEPTRI TRADIC/O * Accipe uirgam uirtutis atque aequitatis. qua intellegas mulcere pios. et terrere reprobos. Errantibusa uiam docere.b lapsisquec manum porrigere.d disperdasquee superbos. et releues humiles. et aperia{ tibi ostium iesus christus dominus noster. qui de seipso ait. 'Ego sum ostium. per me si quisK introierit saluabitur' Et ipse qui est clauis dauid et sceptrum domus israhel. qui aperit et nemo claudit. claudit et nemo aperit. Sitque tibi auctor.h qui educit uinctum de domo carceris. sedentemque in tenebris et umbra mortis. et in omnibus sequi merearis eum de quo dauid propheta cecinit. 'Sedes tua deus in seculum seculi. uirga aequitatis. uirga regni tui' Et imitando ipsumi diligas iustitiam. et odio habeas iniquitatem. quiak propterea un[c]xit te deus deus tuus ad exemplum illius quern ante secula unxerat

d expressam OBP. expressa OBPLa e itaque OBP f intelligimur] ita add. OBP g in exterioribus ... strenuusque om OBP h defensor] existas add. OBP, adsistas OBP A et Va J saluatore] iesu add. OQMI k nostro) iesu add. OL; om. OSL; nostro] iesu PRG

• Titulus: Sceptri tradicio. Acceptio uirge OL, Oratio cum sceptrum datur regi OBP, Postea sceptrum et baculum accipiat, diccnte sibi ordinatore PRG. Tune datur ei uirga Ratold a errantes Ratold b pandere OL, OQ. PRG, docc Ratold; (= OBP) c )apsis OL, OQ, PRG; (= OBP, Ratold) d porrige Ratold e disperdesque Ratold et PI f aperiet OBP except. A g per me si quis] si quis per me 0Q h adiutor Ratold J ipsum] qui dicit add. Ratold k om. Ratold


Guy Lanoe

oleo exultationis 1 prae participibus suis. iesum christum dominum nostrum. qui cum eo uiuit et regnat in unitate spiritus sancti deus. per omnia secula seculorum. Amen. REGJJ STATUS DESIGNAT/0* Sta et retine amodo locum. quern hucusque patema successionea tenuisti. hereditario iure tibi delegatum.b Per auctoritatem dei omnipotentis cerlpraesentem traditionem nostram. omnium scilicete episcoporum. caeterorumque dei seruorum. et quanto clerum sacris altaribus propinquiorem perspicis/ tanto ei potioremg in locis congruis honorem impendere memineris. Quatenus mediator dei et hominum. te mediatorernJ'ricemcleri et plebis. in hoe regni solio confirmet. et in regnum aetemumh secum regnare facial. Jesus christus dominus noster rex regum et dominus dominantium. quic cum deo patre et spiritu sancto uiuit et regnat in secula seculorum. Amen.

1 ad exernplurn ... exultationis) oleo laetitiae. ad exernplurn illius quern ante secula unxerat Ratold

• Titulus: Regii status designatio. Quando ponitur in solio OL, Regius status designatio OQMI a suggestione Ratold b quern ... delegaturn] tibia deo delegaturn. OBP c-c et praesentern traditionern ... dominantium, qui] om. OL d per add. Ratold e scilicct omnium OQMI f prospicis Ratold g potentiorem OBP, OQSt h in regno aeterno Ratold

Les Ordines Orclo de Leyde

Orclo bourguignon

Omnipotens aeteme deus creator omnium. imperator angelorum.

Omnipotens aeteme deus creator omnium. imperator angelorum.

rex regnantium. dominusdominantium. qui abraham fidelem famulum tuum de hostibus triumphare fecisti. moysi et iosuae populo tuo praelatis. multiplicem uictoriam tribuisti. humilemque dauid puerum tuum regni fastigio sublimasti.

rex regnantium. dominus dominantium. qui abraham fidelem famulum tuum de hostibus triumphare fecisti. moysi et iosuae populo tuo praelatis. multiplicem uictoriam tribuisti. humilemque dauid puerum tuum regni fastigio sublimasti.

et salomonem sapientiae pacisque ineffabili munere ditasti. Respice quesumus ad preces humilitatis nostrae. et super hunc famulum tuum .ill. quern supplici deuotione in regem francorum et equitanorum pariter eligimus. benedictionum tuarum dona multiplica. eumque dextera tuae potentiae semper et ubique circumda.

et salomonem sapientiae pacisque ineffabili munere ditasti. Respice quesumus ad preces humilitatis nostrae. et super hunc famulum tuum .ill. quern supplici deuotione in regem eligimus. benedictionum tuarum dona multiplica. eumque dextera tuae · potentiae semper et ubique circumda


Orclo de 877/0rclo de Sens

Orclo de Ratold

Omnipotens sempiteme deus creator ac gubemator celi et terre. conditor et dispositor angelorum et hominum. rex regum etdominusdominorum. qui abraham fidelem famulum tuum de hostibus triumphare fecisti. moysi et iosuae populo tuo praelatis. multiplicem uictoriam tribuisti. humilem quoque dauid puerum tuum regni fastigio sublimasti. eumque de ore leonis et de manu bestie atque golie et de gladio maligno saul et omnium inimicorum eius liberasti et salomonem sapientiae pacisque ineffabili munere ditasti. Respice quesumus ad preces humilitatis nostrae. et super hunc famulum tuum .ill.

Omnipotens sempiteme deus creator ac gubemator celi et terre. conditor et dispositor angelorum et hominum. rexregum et dominus dominorum. qui abraham fidelem famulum tuum de hostibus triumphare fecisti. moysi et iosuae populo tuo praelatis. multiplicem uictoriam tribuisti. humilem quoque dauid puerum tuum regni fastigio sublimasti. eumque de ore leonis et de manu bestiae atque goliae. sed et de gladio maligno saul et omnium inimicorum eius liberasti et salomonem sapientie pacisque ineffabili munere ditasti. Respice propitius ad praeces nostrae humilitatis. et super hunc famulum tum. quern supplici deuotione in regnum .N. albionis totius uidelicet francorum pariter eligimus. benedictionum tuarum dona multiplica. eumque dextera tuae potentiae semper ubique circumda.

Onlo de Leyde Quatenus predicti abrahae fidelitate firmatus. moysi mansuetudine fretus. iosuae fortitudine munitus. dauid humilitate exaltatus. salomonis sapientia decoratus. tibi in omnibus complaceat. et per tramitem iustitiae inoffenso gressu semper incedat. Ecclesiamque ecquitanam et frantiam deinceps cum plebibus sibi adnexis ita enutriat. ac doceat. muniat. et instruat. contraque omnes uisibiles. et inuisibiles hostes. eidem potenter regaliterque tuae uirtutis regimen amministret. ut francorum regnum non desera sed ad pristine fidei pacisque concordiam eorum animos te opitulante reformet. ut utrorumque horum populorum debita subiectione fultus. condigno amore glorificatus ad patemum decenter solium tua miseratione conscendere mereatur.

Onlo bourguignon Quatenus predicti abrahae fidelitate firmatus. moysi mansuetudine fretus. dauid humilitate exaltatus. salomonis sapientia decoratus. tibi in omnibus complaceat. et per tramitem iustitiae inoffenso gressu semper incedat.


Onlo de Ratold

Ordo de 877/0nlo de Sens

quatinus praedicti abrahe fidelitate firmatus. moysi mansuetudine fretus. iosue fortitudine munitus. dauid humilitate exaltatus. salomonis sapientia decoratus. tibi in omnibus complaceat. et per tramitem iustitiae inoffenso gressu semper incedat. et totius albionis ecclesiam deinceps cum plebibus sibi annexis ita enutriat. ac doceat. muniat. et instruat. contraque omnes uisibiles. et inuisibiles hostes. idem potenter regaliterque tuae uirtutis regimen amministret. Ul

regale solium uidelicet francorum sceptra non ~at sed ad pristine fidei pacisque concordiam eorum animos te opitulante reformet. ut utrorumque horum populorum debita subiectione fultus condigno amore glorificatus per longum uitae spatium patemae apicem gloriae tua miseratione unatim stabilire et gubernare mereatur.

Tuae quoque protectionis galea munitus. et scuto insuperabili iugiter protectus. armisque caelestibus circumdatus. optabilis uictoriae triumphum de hostibus feliciter capiat. Terroremque suae potentiae infidelibus inferat. et pacem tibi rnilitantibus laetanter reportet per christum dorninum nostrum.

Tuae quoque protectionis galea munitus. et scuto insuperabili iugiter protectus. armisque caelestibus circumdatus. optabilis uictoriae triumphum de hostibus feliciter capiat. Terroremque suae potentiae infidelibus inferat. et pacem tibi rnilitantibus laetanter reportet per christum dorninum nostrum.

tuae quoque protectionis galea munitus. et scuto insuperabili iugiter protectus armisque caelestibus circumdatus obtabilis uictoriae triumphum de hostibus feliciter capiat terroremque suae potentiae infidelibus inferat et pacem tibi rnilitantibus laetanter reportet Coronet te dorninus corona gloriae in rnisericordia et rniserationibus suis et ungat le

in regni regirnine oleo gratiae spiritus sancti sui.

unde unxit sacerdos. reges. prophetas et martyres. qui per fidem uicerunt regna et operati sunt iustitiam atque adepti sunt prornissiones.

uirtutibus necnon quibus praefatos fideles tuos decoras multiplici honoris benedictione condecora et in regirnine regni sublirniter colloca. et oleo gratiae spiritus sancti sui perunge. Unxerunt salomonem sadoc sacerdos et nathan propheta regem in gion et accedentes laeti dixerunt uiuat rex in aetemum. unde unxisti sacerdotes reges Unde unxisti sacerdotes prophetas et martyres qui per reges et prophetas. ac martyres. qui per fidem fidem uicerunt regna et uicerunt regna et operati sunt operati sunt iustitiam atque adepti sunt prornissiones. iustitiam. atque adempti sunt prornissiones. uirtutibus quibus prefatos fideles tuos decorasti multiplici honoris benedictione condecora. et in regni regirnine sublirniter colloca et oleo gratie spiritus sancti sui perunge

Ordo de Leyde

Ordo bourguignon


eidemque promissionibus gratias dei dignus efficiaris. quatenus eorum consortio in caelesti regno perfrui merearis. Amen.

Qui uirtute crucis

Qui uirtute crucis

tartara destruxit. regnoque diaboli superato. ad caelos uictor ascendit. In quo potestas omnis regumque consistit uictoria. qui est gloria humilium. et uita salusque populorum. Qui tecum uiuit et regnat. in unitate spiritus sancti deus. per omnia secula seculorum. Amen.

tartara destruxit. regnoque diaboli superato. ad caelos uictor ascendit. In quo potestas omnis regumque consistit uictoria. qui est gloria humilium. et uita salusque populorum. Qui tecum uiuit et regnat. in unitate spiritus sancti deus. per omnia secula seculorum. Amen.

Ordo de 877/0rdo de Sens

Ordo de Ratold

Huius sacratissima unctio super caput eius defluat atque ad interiora eius descendat et cordis illius intima penetret et promissionibus quas adepti sunt uictoriosissimi reges gratia tua dignus efficiatur quatinus et in presenti seculo feliciter regnet et ad eorum consortium in celesti regno perueniat per dominum nostrum ihesum filium tuum qui unctus est oleo letitie pre consortibus suis et uirtute crucis potestas aerias debellauit tartara destruxit regnumque diaboli superauit et ad celos uictor ascendit in cuius manu uictoria omnis gloria et potestas consistunt

Cuius sacratissima unctio super caput eius defluat. atque ad interiora descendat. et cordis illius intima penetret. et promissionibus quas adempti sunt uictoriosissimi reges. gratia tua dignus efficiatur. quatinus et in praesenti seculo feliciter regnet. et ad eorum consortium in caelesti regno perueniat. per dominum nostrum ihesum christum filium tuum qui unctus est oleo laetitiae prae consortibus suis. et uirtute crucis potestas aereas debellauit. tartara destruxit. regnumque diaboli superauit. et ad caelos uictor ascendit. in cuius manu uictoria. omnis gloria et potestas consistunt.

et tecum uiuit et regnat deus in unitate eiusdem spiritus sancti. Per omnia secula seculorum. Amen.

et tecum uiuit et regnat deus in unitate eiusdem. per.


Thomas Zotz Freiburg im Breisgau

1. Introduction: Continuity and Change in the Exercise of Royal Power as Reflected in the Palaces Awareness of tradition on the one hand and innovations in the constitution of royal power on the other can be studied in the Middle Ages in a concrete and graphic way by considering how kings dealt with their seats of government, in particular the palatia. 1 To put the question succinctly: Did the kings, as they travelled through the Empire, fall back on places long in existence in which to exercise their rule * I wish to express warm thanks to my good friend Martin Jones of King's 1

College London for preparing the English translation of this paper. Adolf Gauert, 'Zur Struktur und Topographie der Konigspfalzen ·, in Deutsche Konigspfa/zen, II. Veroffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts ftir Geschichte, 11, II (Gottingen, 1965), 1-60; Carlrichard Briihl, Palatium und civitas. Studien zur Profantopographie spiitantiker Civitates vom 3. bis zum 13. Jahrhundert, 1-11 (Cologne/Vienna, 1975, 1990); Thomas Zotz, 'Vorbemerkungen zum Repertorium der deutschen Konigspfalzen', Bliitter fur deutsche Landesgeschichte, CXVIII (1982), 177-203; Idem, 'Palatium publicum, nostrum, regium. Bemerkungen zur Konigspfalz in der Karolingerzeit'. in Die Pfalz. Probleme einer Begriffsgeschichte vom Kaiserpalast au/ dem Palatin bis zum heutigen Regierungsbezirk, edited by Franz Staab, Veroffentlichung der Pfiilzischen Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Wissenschaften in Speyer, 81 (Speyer, 1990), pp. 71-101.


Thomas Zotz

and give particular weight to the praesentia regis,2 or did they, in the course of their reign, establish new loci regii? Naturally, the issue is not restricted to this simple alternative, for it was quite possible for both, the old and the new, to coexist with one another and be exploited on the iter regis per regna, as it was called by Wipo of Burgundy in the eleventh century .3 Thus, in certain situations, it was clearly of importance to symbolize and display the link between one's own rule and that of earlier kings by utilizing a traditional residence, just as it could, conversely, seem appropriate to legitimate one's new rule in new centres of power. On closer examination, of course, it becomes clear that the existence and function of medieval seats of government present a much more complex picture than this. For one finds examples not only of the coexistence of old and new places in the itinerary of a king, but also the direct combination of the two elements: a newly founded locus regius was modelled on or borrowed features from an existing one; such 'quotations' served the purpose both of imitation and differentiation. We may also observe how, through his magnificent renovation of the pa/aria in traditional royal locations of the Carolin\ gian period, such as lngelheim and Nimwegen, the Hohenstaufen

2 Thomas Zotz, 'Prasenz und Reprasentation. Beobachtungen zur koniglichen Herrschaftspraxis im hohen und spaten Mittelalter', in Herrschaft als soziale Praxis. Historische und sozial-anthropologische Studien, edited by Alf Ltidtke, Veroffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts filr Geschichte, 91 (Gottingen, 1991), pp. 168-194. 3 Wipo, Gesta Chuonradi II. imperatoris, c. 6, in Die Werke Wipos, edited by Harry BreBlau, MGH SRG, 3rd edn (Hanover/Leipzig, 1915; rpt 1956), p. 27; Hans-Jtirgen Rieckenberg, 'Konigsstra8e und Konigsgut in liudolfingischer und friihsalischer Zeit (919-1056)', Archiv fur Urkundenforschung, XVII (194 I; rpt Darmstadt 1965), 32-154; Eckhard Millier-Mertens, Die Reichsstruktur im Spiegel der Herrschaftspraxis Ottos des Groften, Forschungen zur mittelalterlichen Geschichte, 25 (Berlin, I 980); Hagen Keller, 'Reichsstruktur und Herrschaftsauffassung in ottonisch-friihsalischer Zeit', Fruhmittelalterliche Studien, XVI (1982), 74-128; Ferdinand Opll, Das Itinerar Kaiser Friedrich Barbarossas ( 1152-1190), Forschungen zur Kaiserund Papstgeschichte des Mittelalters, l (Vienna/Cologne/Graz, 1978).

Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation


Frederick Barbarossa some 350 years later displayed, in the words of I his biographer Rahewin, his animi magnitudo. 4 This example of a reparatio palatii takes me beyond the chronological framework of the present paper. My purpose here is to establish, by comparative analysis, the distinctive characteristics of the palatine policies of the Carolingians, the Ottonians, and the Salians.5 It is to be hoped that by addressing this question it will be possible to reach a somewhat better understanding of the nature and self-image of kingship in the medieval Empire. I would remind you of the observation of Karl Leyser that the itinerary, the progress of the ruler from one palatium to the next and from one civitas to the next, was 'the most essential and carefully administered institution' of the Early and High Middle Ages. 6 To describe and evaluate this institution, which presents itself to us like a long string of pearls, from the perspective of the locations it involved is the central objective of a 4

Rahewin, Gesta Friderici I. imperatoris, iv. 86, edited by Georg Waitz and Bernhard von Simson, MGH SRG, XLVI, 3rd edn (Hanover/ Leipzig, 1912), 344-5. 5 Individual palaces have frequently been the subject of investigations by German scholars: see Adolf Gauert, 'Pfalzen', in Dah/mann-Waitz, Quellenkunde der deutschen Geschichte, edited by Hermann Heimpel and Herbert Geuss, V, 10th edn (Stuttgart, 1980), sections 184, 499-509; 222, 150-7. By contrast, there have hitherto been only spasmodic attempts to integrate the history of palaces into political history: Carlrichard Briihl, Fodrum, Gistum, Servitium regis. Studien zu den wirtschaftlichen Grundlagen des Konigtums im Frankenreich und in den friinkischen Nachfolgestaaten Deutsch/and, Frankreich und /talien vom 6. bis zur Mitte des 14. Jahrhunderts, Koiner Historische Abhandlungen, 14 (Cologne/Graz, 1968); Josef Fleckenstein, 'Bemerkungen zum Verhaltnis von Konigspfalz und Bischofskirche im Herzogtum Schwaben unter den Ottonen', Schau-ins-Land, XC (l 972), 51-9; Manfred Balzer, 'Dortmund und Paderborn. Zwei Aufenthaltsorte der frankischen und deutschen Konige in Westfalen (8.-13. Jh.)', Westfiilische Forschungen, XXXII (l 982), l-20; Thomas Zotz, 'Konigspfalz und Herrschaftspraxis im JO. und friihen l l. Jahrhundert', Blatter far deutsche Landesgeschichte, CXX (1984), 19-46. See also Josiane Barbier, 'Le systeme palatial franc: genese et fonctionnement dans le nord-ouest du regnum'. Bibliotheque de /'eco/e des chartes. CXXXXVIII( 1990). 245-299. 6 Karl Leyser. 'Ottonian Government', English Historical Review, LXXXXVI (l 98 l ), 721-53, at p. 746.




Thomas Zotz

major project which began publication ten years ago, namely the 'Repertorium der deutschen Konigspfalzen' ('Repertory of the German Royal Palaces'), published by the Max-Planck-Insitute for History in Gottingen. 7 By setting out the history of kingship from the point of view of the individual locations, this project opens up the possibility of pursuing the question of tradition and innovation in the exercise of royal power in a precise and diachronic manner. I have used the term 'itinerary' several times already, and in doing so, I touched upon an aspect of the practice of government in which German medievalists took an interest from an early stage, indeed, already from the late nineteenth century onwards, though that interest has generally been restricted to the itinerary of individual rulers.s A wide-ranging project such as the 'Jahrbiicher der deutschen Geschichte' ('Annals of German History'), launched on the initiative of and subsidised by Maximilian II, king of Bavaria, had-and continues to have-as its objective the most precise possible reconstruction of the political activities of individual emperors, often presenting only factual, positivistic accounts in the manner of an 'histoire evenementielle' .9 It was not until the publications of Eckhard MillierMertens and Hagen Keller a good ten years ago, 10 that it became clear what the study of itineraries could and indeed ought to be, namely an attempt, more structural in nature, to gain an understanding of short- or long-term imperial consuetudines, of continuities, 7

Die deutschen Konigspfalzen. Repertorium der Pfalzen, Konigshofe und ubrigen Aufenthaltsorte der Konige im deutschen Reich des Mittelalters, edited by the Max-Planck-lnstitut fiir Geschichte under the direction of Thomas Zotz and, since 1989, Lutz Fenske, I: Hessen (Gottingen, 1983 ff.); II: Thtiringen (Gottingen, 1984 ff.); III: Baden-Wtirttemberg (Gottingen, I 988 ff.). 8 Some examples: Adolf Gauert, 'Zurn Itinerar Karls des GroBen', in Karl der GrojJe, I, edited by Helmut Heumann, 3rd edn (Dtisseldorf, I967), 307-21; Eugen Kilian, ltinerar Kaiser Heinrichs IV. (Karlsruhe, 1886); Ernst Mtiller, Das ltinerar Kaiser Heinrichs Ill. ( 1039 bis 1056), Historische Studien, 26 (Berlin, 190 l ); Opll, ltinerar Friedrich Barbarossas. 9 Jahrbucher der Deutschen Geschichte, edited by the Historische Commission bei der Koniglichen Academie der Wissenschaften (Munich) (Berlin, 1863 ff.). 1O

Millier-Mertens, Reichsstruktur; Keller, 'Reichsstruktur'.

Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation


discontinuities, and/or also deliberate reversions to earlier practicesin short, an analysis of imperial policy with regard to palaces and itineraries which might not least contribute to the writing of a new 'anthropologie politique historique' of the kind that Jacques Le Goff called for in 1985.11 My purpose is to contribute to this project by presenting a number of aspects arising out of the history of palaces. I shall begin by examining what fundamental significance the palatium had for the Carolingians 12 and in what the palatine policy of those times consisted. Against this background, it will be possible, in the next part of the paper, to analyse the attitude of the Ottonian dynasty, 13 successors to the Carolingians in the eastern part of the empire, towards the palaces. In this way we shall be able to examine the claims for a 'Neubeginn auf karolingischem Erbe' (new beginning on the foundation of the Carolingian legacy)-as formulated by Gert Althoff and Hagen Keller 14-in the light of evidence drawn from itineraries and in particular from palatine policy. In the final part of my paper, I shall consider the governing practices of the Salian dynasty. is In this context a question of particular interest is how the Salians reacted in their palatine policy to a dual-Carolingian and Ottonian-tradition, and how and where they were innovatory in their practice of government.

2. Palatium and Palatia in Carolingian Times Assuming that light is shed on the self-image of kings and emperors in the medieval Reich by their concept of the palace and by their palatine policies, it is first of all important to establish the political 11 Jacques Le Goff, L'imaginaire medieval (Paris, 1985), p. xx. 12

Pierre Riche, Les Carolingiens. Une famille qui fit l'Europe (Paris, 1983); Thomas Zotz, 'Karolinger', in Lexikon des Mittelalters, V (Munich/Zurich, 1991), 1008-1014; Rudolf Schieffer, Die Karolinger(Stuttgart, 1992). 13 Helmut Beumann, Die Ottonen, 2nd edn (Stuttgart, 1991). 14 Gerd Althoff and Hagen Keller, Heinrich I. und Otto der Grofle. Neubeginn auf karolingischem Erbe, Personlichkeit und Geschichte, 122-123 (Gottingen/Zurich, 1985). 15 Egon Boshof, Die Salier, 2nd edn (Stuttgart. 1992); Die Salier und das Reich, 3 vols, edited by Stefan Weinfurter, 2nd edn (Sigmaringen, I 992).


Thomas Zotz

value of the palatium in Carolingian times. For this we have an excellent source of information in the text 'De ordine palatii', written shortly after the death of Charlemagne by his cousin Adalhard of Corbie, which, as is well known, is transmitted only later through the work of Hincmar of Reims.16 From this work it appears that the palatium regis, the sacrum palatium, was a part or rather the very centre of the totum regnum, the entire royal government. When Hincmar refers at one point in a particularly difficult passage of his work to the totum palatium, 17 it is at least clear that the palatium and the regnum were regarded as two sides of the same coin, a point clarified by Johannes Fried and Janet It seems to me, furthermore, of importance for the understanding of palatium in the Carolingian period that this term, which was taken over already by the Merovingians from imperial Roman times, signified the ruler's 'house' in both a local and a personal sense. From this it follows that palatium did not have the same ambiguity as the term curia-meaning both 'court' and 'court assembly' or 'court diet'which came into use from the eleventh century. 19It also follows that the expression palatio regio, which occurs frequently in Carolingian documents, is to be understood as referring to the palace, the palace building, in which the ruler conducted the business of government. To summarize, it could be said that in the political thinking of the Carolingian era there was evidently, on the one hand, the single , palatium as the personal and institutional centre of the regnum; 1 following late Antique Eastern Roman tradition, this palatium 16 Hincmar of Reims, De ordine palatii, edited by Thomas Gross and Rudolf Schieffer, MGH, Fontes iuris germanici, III, 2nd edn (Hanover, 1980). 17 De ordine palatii, pp. 34, 56, 64. For the interpretation of the relevant passages, see most recently Zotz, 'Palatium', pp. 73-6. 18 Johannes Fried, 'Der karolingische Herrschaftsverband im 9. Jh. zwischen "Kirche" und "Konigshaus"', Historische Zeitschrift, CCXXXV (l 982), 143, at p. 40; Janet Nelson, 'Kingship and Empire', in The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought, edited by James H. Bums (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 211-51, at pp. 219-21. 19 Cf. Thomas Zotz, 'Curia regis (I, II)', in Lexikon des Mittelalters, III (Munich/Zurich, 1986), 373-5. Idem, 'Palatium', pp. 76-9.

• Carohng,an Palace

0 Ep,scq:,alCrty


®• i

Ollon,an Palace

✓ • Palace o1Helnnch II aid 8aoan Palace

Ep,soopalCrty wrth Caolongn,n/Ollonoan/Salian Palace


Zoll ~eN'lb)'8Neu• October 1DQ2

Fig. 1: Royal Palaces in the Regnum Teutonicum. Map ba-.ed on Muller-Mertens, Reichsstruktur.



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25 m


Fig. 2: Ground plan of Aachen, showing the king's hall (a) and the Church of St Mary (b).After Hugot. 'Pfalz Karls des GroBe in Aachen', Fig. 2, after p. 542.

Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation


appears from 794 onwards occasionally, then later with increasing ') frequency, as sacrum palatium. 20 On the other hand, there were the numerous palatia, varying of course in importance, which formed a network stretching across the Frankish Empire, 21 and which represented and symbolized the royal or imperial dignity even in the absence of the rex or imperator. It is likely that, at least for the educated elite of the Frankish Empire, the double sense of palatium, signifying both the central 'lieu imaginaire' of monarchy and its individual local manifestation, gave clear expression to the coherence of monarchy and its claim to ubiquity (cf. the outline map, fig. l). With this theoretical background in mind, let us now examine the network of Carolingian palatia principally in the eastern part of the regnum Franco rum since the latter part of Charlemagne's reign and that of Louis the Pious. No particular commentary is required on the fact that since 795 Aachen increasingly assumed the character of the , precipua cis Alpes regia sedes, as was formulated in a diploma of Otto I in 966 22 (cf. the ground plan of Aachen, fig. 2). But it is no less important to observe how the palatium Aquense or, more precisely, some of its elements-architectural features or even just particular names-were transferred to other palaces already in

20 Cf. Libe/lus sacrosyllabus episcoporum ltaliae, edited by Albert Werminghoff, in MGH Concilio, II, part l (Hanover, 1906), p. 131: in au/a sacri palatii, with reference to the palace at Frankfurt am Main. On this, see Elsbet Orth, 'Frankfurt', in Die deutschen Konigspfalzen, l (Hessen), part 2 (Gottingen, 1985), pp. 156, 181. 21 See the maps of royal itineraries in Briihl, Fodrum. These maps, however, show not only palaces but also other places of royal government. 22 Diplomata Ottonis I[= DO/], no. 316, in Die Urkunden der deutschen Konige und Kaiser, l, MGH, Diplomata regum et imperatorum Germaniae, I, 2nd edn (Berlin, 1956), 430. For the palace at Aachen, see Walter Schlesinger, 'Beobachtungen zur Geschichte und Gestalt der Aachener Pfalz in der Zeit Karls des Gro8en', in Zurn Kaisertum Karls des Groj3en, edited by Gunther Wolf, Wege der Forschung, 38 (Dannstadt, 1972), pp. 384-434, Dietmar Flach, Untersuchungen zur Verfassung und Verwa/tung des Aachener Reichsgutes, Veroffentlichungen des Max-Planck-lnstituts fiir Geschichte, 36 (Gottingen, 1976) and recently Ludwig Falkenstein, 'Charlemagne et Aix-la-Chapelle', Byzantion, LXI (1991), 231-89.


Thomas Zotz

Carolingian times. 23 It may be recalled here that Louis the Pious had a capella built after the model of the Church of St Mary at Aachen in the important Lotharingian palace of Diedenhofen, which is documented since the time of King Pippin; 24 also that in 875 to 877 the West Frankish Emperor Charles the Bald developed the palace at 1 Compiegne, since the time of Louis the Pious the most important palace in West Francia, into nothing less than a 'substitute-Aachen', after he had lost East Lotharingia together with Aachen to the East Frankish Empire in 876.25 With this we have already touched on the topic of Carolingian divisions and sub-kingdoms, an issue in which the palaces obviously played a vital role. It is noticeable that in each region of the regnum Francorum, both in the political heartlands and in peripheral areas, there was at least one palatium as the representation of royal power. Thus, from the time of Louis the Pious onwards the palace at Frank; furt undoubtedly acquired a central function in the East Frankish Empire. 26 Whoever held Frankfurt was master of the kingdom. In the regnum Bavariae multiple functions devolved on Regensburg as an





On the •Aachen-quotation', with reference to the Chapel of St Mary, at other places in the Early and High Middle Ages, see Albert Verbeck, 'Die architektonische Nachfolge der Aachener Pfalzkapelle', in Karl der Groj3e, IV, edited by Wolfgang Braunfels and Percy Ernst Schramm, 2nd edn (Diisseldorf, 1967), 113-56; Matthias Untermann, Der 'Zentra/bau im Mittelalter. Form Funktion - Verbreitung (Darmstadt, 1989), pp. 120-47. Cf. Philippe Lamair, 'Recherches sur le palais carolingien de Thionville (Vllf-debut du Xf siecle)', Publications de la section historique de /'lnstitut du Grand-Duche de Luxembourg, XCVI (1982), 1-92; Michel Parisse, 'Diedenhofen', in Lexikon des Mitte/alters, III. 997-8; Untermann, 'Zentralbau, p. 126. Reinhold Kaiser, 'Aachen und Compiegne', Rheinische Vierteljahrsbliitter XXXXIII (1979). I00-19; Dietrich Lohrmann and Reinhold Kaiser, 'Compiegne', in Lexikon des Mitre/alters, III. 101-2. For Charles the Bald, cf. Charles The Bald. Court and Kingdom, edited by Margaret T. Gibson and Janet L. Nelson, 2nd edn (Aldershot, 1990). Marianne Schalles-Fischer, Pfalz und Fiskus Frankfurt, Veroffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts fiir Geschichte, 20 (Gottingen, 1969); Orth, 'Frankfurt'.

Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation


ecclesiastical centre and a royal palace.27 The bi-polar structure of the kingdom of Louis the German, based on Rhenish-Franconia and Bavaria, finds clear expression in the fact that he particularly fostered the respective centres Frankfurt and Regensburg, modelling them on Aachen, which belonged to the regnum Lotharii at this time. 28 For in both places, Louis founded nova oratoria, 29 houses of canons in the image of Aachen, and from the area occupied by the palaces in both places there is preserved the term 'Lateran', clearly a deliberate allusion to the palace in Aachen.3° Yet it is noteworthy that, in addition to the episcopal city of Regensburg, the itinerary of Louis the German included another major palatium in the region of original Bavarian settlement, namely Altot- , ting.JI In the course of the sub-division of the East Frankish realm among the three sons of Louis the German-Carloman, who was the eldest, Louis the Younger, and Charles-this place gained a new importance. It is worthwhile casting a glance at the changed palatine system that resulted. In 876/877, Carloman founded a house of canons in Altotting in honour of Mary and Philip, and if the rotunda of the Altotting Chapel of Mercy may be dated back to the later ninth


Peter Schmid, Regensburg. Stadt der Konige und Herzoge im Mittelalter, Regensburger Historische Forschungen, 6 (Kallmilnz, I 977); Brilhl, Palatium, II, 219-55. 2 8 Cf. Wilhelm Stormer, 'Ludwig II. der Deutsche', in Lexikon des Mitre/alters, V, 2172-4. 29 Notker, Gesta Karoli magni imperatoris, ii. 11, edited by Hans F. Haefele, MGH SRG, NS, XII, 2nd edn (Berlin, 1980), 69; Schmid, Regensburg, pp. 67-74; Orth, 'Frankfurt', pp. 358-62. 3 For Aachen: Ludwig Falkenstein, Der 'Lateran' der karolingischen Pfalz zu Aachen, Koiner Historische Abhandlungen, 13 (Cologne/Graz, 1966). For Regensburg: Richard Strobel and Jilrgen Sydow, 'Der "Latron" in Regensburg. Ein Beitrag zum Kontinuitiitsproblem', Historisches Jahrbuch, LXXXIII(1964), 1-27, at pp. 14, 25; Schmid, Regensburg, pp. 449-51. For 'Laderam' in Frankfurt: Friedrich Bothe, Geschichte der Stadt Frankfurt am Main, 2nd edn (Frankfurt, 1923), p. 95. 3 I Wilhelm Stormer, 'Die Anfange des karolingischen Pfalzstifts Allotting', Ecclesia et regnum. Festschrift fur Franz-Josef Schmale, edited by Dieter Berg and Hans-Werner Goetz (Bochum, 1989), pp. 61- 71.



Thomas 'Zotz

century,3 2 which seems quite plausible, then we would have here another example of an 'Aachen-quotation', now two steps farther down, as it were, in the Carolingian process of divisions. This elaboration of the Altotting palatium obviously corresponded to changes in the itinerary and governing practices of the 'Bavarian' King Carloman. Interestingly, Altotting pushed the old central location Regensburg right into the background.33 The centre of the regnum Bavariae was clearly intended to be a 'pure' locus regius, in contrast to Regensburg, where the seat of government competed with episcopal rights and functions. In this we perceive a political programme that is evident elsewhere and at other times in the governing practices of the early medieval kings. A well-known example of this is the Neustrian royal palace of Clichy in the seventh century, located near the monastery of Saint-Denis and set apart from Paris, which was both royal residence and episcopal seat.34 Let us now examine the palatine system in the sub-kingdom which was apportioned to Carloman's younger brother Charles, the later Emperor Charles 111.35This regnum consisted of Alamannia proper, Alsace and the part of Rhaetia around Chur. In Alemannia, there is evidence of a palatium in Bodman by Lake Constance, 32 Vorromanische Kirchenbauten. Katalog der Denkmiiler bis zum Ausgang der

Ottonen, edited by Friedrich Oswald, Leo Schaefer, Hans Rudolf Sennhauser, Veroffentlichungen des Zentralinstituts filr Kunstgeschichte, 3 (Munich, 1966-71), pp. 21-2 (age of Charlemagne?); Nachtragsband, edited by Werner Jacobsen, Leo Schaefer, and Hans Rudolf Sennhauser, Veroffentlichungen des Zentra1instituts fiir Kunstgeschichte in Munich, 3.2 (Munich, 1991), p. 22 (hardly before 1000). Cf. also Gerhard Streich, Burg und Kirche wiihrend des deutschen Mitre/alters. Untersuchungen zur Sakraltopographie von Pfalzen, Burgen und Herrensitzen, Vortrage und Forschungen, Sonderband, 29 (Sigmaringen, 1984), pp. 42, I I 6. 33 Stormer, 'Altotting', pp. 61-2. 34 Hartmut Atsma, 'Clichy', in Lexikon des Mittelalters, II (Munich/Ziirich, 1983), 216 I: Barbier, ' Le systeme palatial', p. 264. 35 Bernd Schneidmiiller, 'Karl (III.) der Dicke', in Lexikon des Mittelalters, V, 968-969; Thomas Zotz, 'Grund1agen und Zentren der Konigsherrschaft im deutschen Siidwesten in karo1ingischer und ottonischer Zeit', in Archiiologie und Geschichte des ersten Jahrtausends in Siidwestdeutsch/and, Archaologie und Geschichte, I (Sigmaringen. 1990), pp. 275-93.

Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation


heartland of the duchy since Merovingian times, 36 from about 830.37 Louis the Pious had clearly conceived the idea of this palatium in connection with the plan devised in 829 to endow his second wife's son Charles (the Bald) with Alemannia, Alsace, and Rhaetia, a plan which, as is well known, profoundly shook the Carolingian dynasty in the realm of 'Charlemagne's heir' in the 830s.3 8 Unlike other Carolingian palaces, however, Bodman was unable to develop fully, for example through the foundation of a house of canons. The nearby abbey of the Reichenau and, a little farther away, the abbey of St Gallen, acted as supporting religious centres in this instance.39 Only en passant do I draw attention to the second Carolingian palace in Alemannia, documented since the middle of the ninth century: Ulm on the Danube. It no doubt owes its origin to its greater proximity to Franconia and Bavaria; and, in fact, Louis the German frequently stayed there on his journeys between Frankfurt and Regensburg.40 Of interest to us in dealing with the question of the palatine system within the sub-kingdom of Charles III is also Alsace, already an area rich in royal estates and possessions in Merovingian times, which formed the eastern border of Austrasia against Alemannia. 41There, the palace of Schlettstadt appears to have taken on a 36

Hagen Keller, 'Frankische Herrschaft und alemannisches Herzogtum', Zeitschrift far Geschichte des Oberrheins, CXXN ( 1976), l-30. 37 Bodman. Dorf - Kaiserpfalz - Adel, l and II, edited by Herbert Bemer (Sigmaringen, 1977, 1985); Helmut Maurer, 'Bodman' in Die deutschen Konigspfalzen, Ill (Baden-Wtirttemberg), part l (Gottingen, 1988), 18-45. 38 Egon Boshof, 'Einheitsidee und Teilungsprinzip in der Regierungszeit Ludwigs des Frommen', in Charlemagne's Heir, edited by Peter Godman and Roger Collins (Oxford, 1990), pp. 161-89. 39 Arno Borst, 'Die Pfalz Bodman•, in Bodman, l, 169-230. 40 Walter Schlesinger, 'Pfalz und Stadt Ulm bis zur Stauferzeit', Ulm und Oberschwaben, XXXVIII (1967), 9-20; Ursula Schmitt, Villa regalis Ulm und Kloster Reichenau. Untersuchungen zur Pfalefunktion des Reichsklostergutes in Alemannien (9.-12. Jahrhundert), Veroffentlichungen des Max-Plancklnstituts ftir Geschichte, 42 (Gottingen, 1974); Immo Eberl, 'Siedlung und Pfalz Ulm. Von der Grtindung in der Merowingerzeit bis zur Zerstorung im Jahre 1134', Zeitschrift fur wurttembergische Landesgeschichte, XXXXI (1982), 431-57. 41 Philippe Dollinger, 'Elsa8', in Lexikon des Mittelalters, 111,I852-60.


Thomas 'Zotz

central role for Charles III.42 Of all the places in Alsace at which Charles stayed, only Schlettstadt is called palatium (in 887): actum Scletistat palacio; 4 3 Colmar, although it was the location of a genera/is conventus in 884, is referred to only as curtis imperialis or villa.44 Architectural findings in Schlettstadt also confirm the important position of this Alsatian palace in the regnum of Charles III. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the remains of the foundations of a rotunda, 22 metres in diameter, were discovered beneath the choir of the Church of St George. There is little evidence to justify dating these remains to the years around 77545 when Charlemagne stayed on one occasion in Schlettstadt, settled litigation between the monasteries of Honau and Corbie in palatio nostro, and celebrated Christmas there. 46 Were such a dating correct, then the rotunda at Schlettstadt would antedate Aachen! In contrast to this, the rotunda is nowadays regarded as a Romanesque, not pre-Romanesque, church, and any relation to the Carolingian palace is dismissed. 47 However, it has to be asked what reason there was for building such a magnificent rotunda in the Romanesque era, i.e. around 1000 or in the eleventh century, when Schlettstadt no longer had any importance.48 42 Joseph M. B. Clauss, Historisch-topographisches Worterbuch des Elsa/3 (Zabem, 1895-1914),pp. 1003-24. Diplomata Karoli III[= DKII/], nos. 152-5, in Die Urkunden Karls III., edited by Paul Kehr, MGH, Diplomata regum Germaniae ex stirpe Karolinorum, II (Berlin, 1936), 244-51. 44 Johann Friedrich Bohmer, Regesta lmperii, I, edited by Engelbert Milhlbacher et alii, 2nd edn (Innsbruck, 1908; rpt Hildesheim, 1966), nos. 1646, 1677d, 1717. 45 For the dating of the rotunda to 775, see Robert Will and Fran~ois Himly, 'Les edifices religieux en Alsace a l'epoque preromane', Revue d'A/sace, XCIII (1954), 36--76, at pp. 51-2. Based on this: Vorromanische Kirchenbauten, p. 305. 46 Bohmer-Mtihlbacher, Regesta lmperii, nos. 200, 200a. 47 Vorromanische Kirchenbauten. Nachtragsband, p. 373. On this problem, cf. also Streich, Burg und Kirche, pp. 42, 394. 48 Paul Wentzcke, 'Geschichte der Stadt Schlettstadt', Tiibinger Studien fur schwiibische und deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, II, part 3 (Ttibingen, 1910), 121. 43

Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation


In the last quarter of the ninth century this Alsatian location had an altogether different standing. The whole region was of importance for the East Frankish kings, when, in consequence of the treaty of Meerssen (870), 49 the regnum Lotharii disappeared and Alsace became a part of the realm of Louis the German and his sons.5° It is against this political background that we have to judge the one and only palatium in Alsace at that time. What is known about the church of Schlettstadt in the relevant period? In 836, the emperor Louis the Pious confirmed the see of Chur in its possession of the capella in Schlettstadt, granted formerly by Charlemagne.5t But in 881 the infamous Liutward of Vercelli, archicancellarius of Charles 111,52obtained, by disposition of the king, possession of the capella of Schlettstadt and other nearby places.53 In view of Liutward's importance in the government of Charles III and his closeness to the king and emperor, this transaction in favour of Liutward means that 49

Bernd Schneidmtiller, 'Meerssen, Vertrag von', in Lexikon des Mittelalters, VI, part 3 (Munich/Ztirich, 1992), 466. 50 Theodor Schieffer, 'Ludwig der Deutsche', in Neue deutsche Biographie, XV (Berlin, 1987), 318-23; Michael Borgolte, 'Karl III. und Neudingen. Zurn Problem der Nachfolgeregelung Ludwigs des Deutschen', 'Zeitschrift far die Geschichte des Oberrheins, CXXV (1977), 21-55; Idem, 'Die Geschichte der Grafengewalt im ElsaB von Dagobert I. bis Otto dem Gro8en', 'Zeitschriftfar Geschichte des Oberrheins, CXXXI (1983), 3-54. 5t Bohmer-Mtihlbacher, Regesta lmperii, no. 952; Regesta Alsatiae, l, edited by Albert Bruckner (Strasbourg/Ztirich, 1949), no. 501; Biindner Urkundenbuch, I, edited by Elisabeth Meyer-Marthaler and Franz Perret (Chur, 1955), no. 57, pp. 49-51. 52 Josef Fleckenstein, Die Hojkapelle der deutschen Konige, l, Schriften der MGH, 16, I (Stuttgart, 1959), 190-9; Eduard Hlawitschka, Lotharingien und das Reich an der Schwelle der deutschen Geschichte, Schriften der MGH, 21 (Stuttgart, 1968), pp. 36--9; Hagen Keller, 'Zurn Sturz Karls III. Ober die Rolle Liutwards von Vercelli und Liutberts von Mainz, Arnulfs von Kamten und der ostfrankischen Gro8en bei der Absetzung des Kaisers', in Konigswahl und Thronfolge in friinkisch-karolingischer 'Zeit, edited by Eduard Hlawitschka, Wege der Forschung, 247 (Darmstadt, 1975), pp. 432-94; Genevieve Buhrer-Thierry, 'Le conseiller du roi. Les ecrivains carolingiens et la tradition biblique', Medievales, XII (1987), 111-23. 53 Bohmer-Mtihlbacher, Regesta lmperii, no. 1609; DKIII, no. 30, in Die Urkunden Karls Ill., pp. 50--1.


Thomas 'Zotz

Schlettstadt was in effect recovered at that time for the ruler himself. It seems to me plausible that the locus regius Schlettstadt was embellished with architecture of a representative character, and that we may interpret the rotunda there, probably a part of the royal palace, as another 'Aachen-quotation', dating it to the later ninth century, i.e. to a time when the Carolingian Empire had already split up. Nevertheless, we still need to ask to what extent early Carolingian tradition and Charlemagne's celebration of Christmas in Schlettstadt influenced his identically named great-grandson about I 00 years later to devote particular attention to the palatium in Schlettstadt. It is evident not least from the 'Gesta Karoli', which he commissioned from Notker of St Gallen, how much Charles III felt himself linked with his famous ancestor.54 So much for palatine policy and the palatine system of the Carolingians in the eastern part of the Empire. In order to complete the picture, we should name just two more examples of palaces which were centres within particular regions of the empire during the reign of Charlemagne: Salz on the Franconian Saale, as a centre of the Francia orientalis near the Thuringian border,55 and Paderbom, the I Saxon palace par excellence, about which we are excellently informed through archaeological and historical research.56 From the rich history of Paderborn we shall examine only two aspects which are of importance for the present topic. First, in the light of Karl Hauck's investigations, it can be regarded as certain that the urbs Caroli or Karlesburg, which the Franks built in 776 on land conquered from the Saxons, is in fact Paderbom.57 Just as Charles the

54 Cf. Notker, Gesta Karoli, pp. xii-xiii. 55 Karl Bos), Franken um 800. Strukturanalyse einer friinkischen Konigspro-

vinz, 2nd edn (Munich, 1969), pp. 146--9.

56 Wilhelm Winkelmann, 'Est locus insignis, quo Patra et Lippa tluentant', Chiiteau Gaillard, V (1972). 203-25; Manfred Balzer, 'Paderborn als karolingischer Pfalzort', in Deutsche Konigspfalzen, III, Veroffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts fi.irGeschichte, 11, III (Gottingen, 1979), 9-85. 57 Karl Hauck, 'Karl als neuer Konstantin 777. Die archaologischen Entdeckungen in Paderborn in historischer Sicht', Friihmittelalterliche Studien, XX (1986), 513-40.

Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation


Bald had given Compiegne a second name, Carlopolis, 58 so in like manner the place which symbolized the surrender of the S.!xons and became the site of a mass baptism was to bear the name of the victor. The second important point in the history of Paderbom is the fact that neither in the diplomata nor in the narrative tradition of the eighth and ninth centuries is it called a palatium. The closest we get to it is in the 'Paderbom (or Aachen) Epic' ,59 which depicts a meeting between Charlemagne and Pope Leo III, 60 and in which reference is made to the au/a regalis, which has been brilliantly documented by the excavations there. But why not palatium? Is the reason to be found in the fact that Paderbom lay in conquered territory, rather than in Frankish lands or at least in a region which, as was the case with Alemannia and Bavaria, had belonged loosely to the regnum Francorum from as long ago as Merovingian times? This would, incidentally, explain why a Hersfeld document of 802 mentions a palatium publicum in Erfurt,61 since Thuringia similarly belonged loosely to the Frankish empire.62

3. Ottonian Palatine Policy: New Beginnings on the Foundation of the Carolingian Legacy The election of the Saxon Duke Henry as king of the East Frankish Empire in 91963 marked a break not only with the Carolingian but Dietrich Lohrmann, 'Trois palais royaux de la vallee de l'Oise d'apres les travaux des erudits mauristes: Compiegne, Choisy-au-Bac et Quierzy', Francia, IV (l 976), 121-39, at pp. I 26-7; Kaiser, 'Aachen und Compiegne', at pp. 113-4; Hauck, •Karl als neuer Konstantin', p. 517. 59 Karo/us Magnus et Leo papa, in Poetae aevi carolini, I, edited by Ernst Di.immler, (Berlin, 1881), MGH, Poet. Lat., I, 366-79. Cf. Dieter Schaller, 'Das Aachener Epos Karl den Kaiser', Friihmittelalterliche Studien, X (1976), 134-68. 60 Karo/us Magnus et Leo papa, v. 433, at p. 377, v. 524, at p. 379. 61 Michael Gockel, 'Erfurt', in Die deutschen Konigspfa/zen, II (Thi.iringen), part 2 (Gottingen, 1984), 136. 62 Geschichte Thiiringens, edited by Hans Patze and Walter Schlesinger, I (Cologne/Graz, 1968), 334--80. 63 Walter Schlesinger, 'Die Konigserhebung Heinrichs I., der Beginn der deutschen Geschichte und die deutsche Geschichtswissenschaft', Historische "Z.eitschrift,CCXXI ( 1976), 529-52. 58


Thomas Z.Otz

also with the Frankish past,64 and it had consequences for royal palatine policy as well. Although Henry I occasionally resided in tradi( tional Carolingian places, for example, Worms in the years 925 and 926, Salz in 927 and 931, Frankfurt in 930 and 933, and once even Aachen, in 930, it is unmistakably the case and no cause for surprise that he concentrated the execution of government on places in Saxony, the Liudolfings' country of origin, places such as Werla, Pohlde, Quedlinburg, and Merseburg, to name but a few.65 If one tries to find a logical pattern in Henry I's use of Carolingian and Ottonian places, it is striking that the king stayed in traditional Carolingian locations precisely during the nine years of the 'Hungarian Misery' ('Ungarnnot'), which ended in 933 with Henry's victory over these external enemies. 66 Did the particular task which the king had to fulfil at that time for the res publica motivate or legitimate this exercise of government in the footsteps of the Carolin( gians? Yet Henry I was Saxon enough to choose his 'own' palace at Merseburg to commemorate his victory. It was there that he had the victory over the Hungarians perpetuated in a painting, as was reported by Liutprand of Cremona67 and later taken up by Otto of Freising in his chronicle.68 All in all, the impression we have of the governing practices of Henry I is of a cautious new beginning, an impression which is




Cf. Althoff-Keller, Heinrich I. und Otto der Grofte, pp. 41-65; Beumann, Ottonen, pp. 32-4. 65 Cf. the itinerary of Henry I in: Johann Friedrich Bohmer, Regesta /mperii, II, part 6, edited by Harald Zimmermann (CologneNienna, 1982), p. 1. On the palaces named, see Deutsche Konigspfalzen, 1-11, Veroffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts fur Geschichte, 11, 1-11 (Gottingen, 1963, 1965) and Ernst Schubert, Stiitten siichsischer Kaiser (Leipzig/Jena/Berlin, 1990). For Quedlinburg most recently: Josef Fleckenstein, Pfalz und Stift Quedlinburg. Zum Problem ihrer Zuordnung unter den Ottonen, Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Gottingen, philosophisch-historische Klasse, Jahrgang 1992, no. 2 (Gottingen, 1992). 66 Beumann, Ottonen, p. 46. 67 Liutprand, Antapodosis, ii. 31, in Die Werke Liudprands von Cremona, edited by Joseph Becker, MGH SRG, 3rd edn. (Hanover/Leipzig, 1915), p. 52. 68 Otto of Freising, Chronica, vi. 18, edited by Adolf Hofmeister, MGH SRG, 2nd edn (Hanover/Leipzig, 1912), p. 279.

Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation


matched by the latest research in other fields. 69 In comparison with this, Henry's son Otto acted quite differently, indeed was in a position to act quite differently. According to Widukind of Corvey, the populus Francorum atque Saxonum decided that Aachen should be the place for Otto's coronation, not least in order that the East Franks' claim to Lotharingia should be demonstrated thereby to the West Franks.7° The clothes which the Saxon Otto wore at his coronation were Frankish, and of Frankish origin, too, was Archbishop Hildibert of Mainz who ordained him. The Lotharingian question may well have been the immediately pressing reason why importance was attached to Aachen and to Frankish elements of sovereignty at that point in time, yet the continuing practice of Otto the Great, as convincingly analysed by Eckhard Muller-Mertens, shows that the second king of the Ottonian dynasty made Carolingian tradition a cornerstone of his government: Otto stayed in Aachen on eight fur1 ther occasions, also thirteen times in Frankfurt, nine times in Ingelheim and four times in Salz.71 I deliberately referred to Otto I just now as the 'second king of his dynasty', for it seems to me important for the understanding of royal government in the Middle Ages that we pay attention to the factor of sequentiality or, more generally, of time. This holds true for a whole dynasty as well as for an individual ruler. New kings or new dynasties were often characterized by the 'gentle' start which they made to their reign, showing consideration for competitors among the nobility and caution in respect of the methods of government. Research has long since recognized this with regard to the way in which kings managed people through the bestowal of offices, 72 and it applies equally to their management of places. The time factor gave a new dynasty the opportunity to create a tradition of its own and hence a

69 Althoff-Keller, Heinrich I. und Otto der GrojJe, pp. 66-81. 70 Widukind of Carvey, Res gestae Saxonicae, ii. I, edited by Paul Hirsch, MGH

SRG, 5th edn (Hanover, 1935), p. 63. Cf. Althoff-Keller, Heinrich I. und Otto der GrojJe. pp. 112-20; Beumann, Ottonen, pp. 53-5. 71 Millier-Mertens, Reichsstruktur, passim. The itinerary of Otto I here at pp. 270-83, and Bohmer-Zimmermann, Regesta lmperii, 11/6, 1-3. 72 Cf. Althoff-Keller, Heinrich I. und Otto der GrojJe, pp. 56-81.


Thomas Z.Otz

legitimacy of its own, allowing it to establish its own independent relationship to the 'old' tradition. Let us examine now how Otto I dealt with those places on the royal iter which were genuine Ottonian creations. In general, it is interesting to note that as the court perambulated the kingdom it ( systematically and regularly used both those Ottonian places and the Carolingian locations on the middle and lower Rhine. 73 Considering the frequency with which individual places were visited, Magdeburg with 22 visits and Quedlinburg with 17 visits stand out as supreme in Otto's itineraries. Both places may be regarded as central locations for the Ottonian dynasty, their significance further enhanced by their being 'residences des (rois) morts': Henry I lay buried in Quedlinburg, and Otto I in Magdeburg.74 Moreover, the Ottonian itineraries had regard for these two places in a special way. Several times during the tenth century, the king celebrated Palm Sunday in Magdeburg (an archiepiscopal city since 968) 75 and Easter in Quedlinburg. A striking analogy to this is the identical use which the Ottonian rulers made of two Frankish places, namely the archiepiscopal city of Mainz, and the palace at Ingelheim. The juxtaposition of Francia and Saxonia in the political thought of the Ottonian period is thus also reflected in this organization of the itinerary.76 It is no coincidence that Magdeburg was far and away the place most often visited by Otto I. From the beginning of his reign, this city on the river Elbe assumed the role of a new political centre as an urbs regia. 77 In 937, just one year after he came to power, the king imposed a penalty on Duke Eberhard of Franconia which was to be exe1

Mtiller-Mertens, Reichsstruktur, pp. 224-45. Lothar Bomscheuer, Miseriae regum. Untersuchungen zum Krisen- und Todesgedanken in den herrschaftstheologischen Vorstellungen der ottonischsalischen Zeit, Arbeiten zur Fri.ihmittelalterforschung, 4 (Berlin/New York, 1968), pp. 93-I03. Karl Leyser, Rule and Conflict in an Early Medieval Society. Ottonian Saxony, 2nd edn (Oxford, 1989), p. 90. 75 Dietrich Claude, Geschichte des Erzbistums Magdeburg bis in das 12. Jahrhundert, 2 vols, Mitteldeutsche Forschungen, 67, (CologneNienna, 1972, 1975). 76 Zotz, 'Konigspfalz und Herrschaftspraxis', pp. 34-43. 77 Schubert, Stiitten, pp. 89-132. 73 74

Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation


cuted on the way to Magdeburg. It was to this place that Eberhard's supporters were humiliatingly obliged to carry dogs.78 The special position which Magdeburg occupied in the government of Otto I is also reflected in the use of the term palatium in diplomata issued by him at Magdeburg in the period between 942 and 952 and in the year 965. For this designation occurs in royal diplomata of that time almost exclusively in connection with places which had Carolingian palaces, such as Aachen, Ingelheim, and Frankfurt. The Saxon Magdeburg was obviously to be placed on a par with these palatia. 79 This point can be made even more precisely. In the thinking of Otto I, Magdeburg appears to have represented nothing less than the Ottonian counterpart of the Carolingian Aachen. What was planned here, can, I believe, be indirectly inferred from a formulation used of the palace at Aachen which has already been referred to: precipua cis Alpes regia sedes. These words occur in a deed of the Emperor Otto I issued in 966 in favour of St Mary's Chapel in Aachen. At first sight, Aachen's position appears clear. Yet one is quickly led to ask oneself why it has to be emphasized in this way. Made alert by this, our scepticism is reinforced, when we discover that this deed was not written in the imperial chancery-according to the editor Theodor Sickel, it was produced locally, that is to say, in It was the canons of St Mary's, then, who characterized the palace at Aachen in this way, and they clearly had a reason for doing so. It is no doubt correct to look for this reason in far-off Magdeburg, to which Brun of Querfurt, at the beginning of the eleventh century, referred as Theutonum nova metropolis.BI By that time Magdeburg had long since be78

Thomas Zotz, 'Amicitia und discordia. Zu einer Neuerscheinung ilber das Verhaltnis von Konigtum und Adel in frilhottonischer Zeit', Francia, XVI, part I (1989), 169-75. On the penalty, see Bernd Schwenk, 'Das Hundetragen. Ein Rechtsbrauch im Mittelalter', Historisches Jahrbuch, CX ( 1990), 289-308. 79 DOI. nos. 50 (942), 74 (946), 90 (947), 153 (952), 297 (965), 300 (965), 301 (965), in Die Urkunden ... Kaiser, I, 134, 154,173,235,414,416,417. 80 DOI, no. 316, in Die Urkunden ... Kaiser, I, 429. 81 Brun of Querfurt, Vita sancti Adalberti, c. 4, edited by Georg Heinrich Pertz, in MGH SS, IV (Hanover, 1841), 596. Cf. Walter Schlesinger, 'Zur Geschichte der Magdeburger Konigspfalz', in Ausgewiihlte Aufsiitze von Walter


Thomas 'Zotz

come an archiepiscopal city as well, a metropolis in the ecclesiastical sense, but Magdeburg's character as a central location certainly consisted in more than this. In seeking to define the position which Magdeburg occupied in the political thinking of Otto I, we are not dependent solely on the interpretation of written evidence. For in the 1960s, there were uncovered in Magdeburg the foundations of an imposing building which we have good reason to believe to have been the palatium of Otto I. 82Only historical arguments can be adduced to help determine the date of its construction. Most likely is the period between 955 (the year of the Battle of the Lechfeld 83and the beginning of the preimperial phase of Otto's reign)84 and 965/966, when the emperor briefly resided north of the Alps between two lengthy stays in Italy.85 If the palace building, which would no doubt have attracted as much attention among people of the time as it does today, was in existence by 965, then the above remark of the Aachen canons about 'their' palatium would be all the more readily explicable. And there is something else that is worthy of note. When, in the summer of 965, Otto I stayed in Magdeburg for the first time since his coronation as

Schlesinger 1965-1979, edited by Hans Patze and Fred Schwind, Vortrage und Forschungen. 34 (Sigmaringen, 1987), pp. 315-45, at pp. 325-6. 82 Edgar Lehmann, 'Der Palast Ottos des GroBen in Magdeburg', in Architektur des Mitre/alters. Funktion und Gestalt, edited by Friedrich Mobius and Ernst Schubert (Weimar, I 983 ), pp. 42-62; Idem, 'Uber die Pfalz Ottos des GroBen', in Der Magdeburger Dom, ottonische Grundung und staufischer Neubau, edited by E. Ullmann (Leipzig, 1989), pp. 57-61; Cord Meckseper, 'Das Palatium Ottos des GroBen in Magdeburg', Burgen und Schlosser, XXVII (1986), 101-15; Schubert, Stiitten siichsischer Kaiser, pp. 125-6. 83 Karl Leyser, 'The Battle at the Lech', in Idem, Medieval Germany and its Neighbours 900-1250 (London, 1982), pp. 43-67. 84 Hagen Keller, 'Das Kaisertum Ottos des GroBen im Verstandnis seiner Zeit', in Otto der GrojJe, edited by Harald Zimmermann, Wege der Forschung, 350 (Darmstadt, 1976), pp. 218-95; Althoff-Keller, Heinrich 1. und Otto der Grofle, pp. 158-93; Helmut Beumann, 'Otto der GroBe', in Kaisergestalten des Mittelalters, edited by Helmut Beumann (Munich, 1984), pp. 50-72. 85 Johann Friedrich Bohmer, Regesta lmperii, II, part I, edited by Emil von Ottenthal (Innsbruck, 1893; rpt Hildesheim, 1967), nos. 369-435.




ii I

. ~



.a w











25 m


Fig. 3: Site plan of Magdeburg, showing the palace building (a) and the Ottonian church of St Mauritius (b).After Lehmann, 'Der Palast Ottos des GroBen in Magdeburg', Fig. 1, p. 42.


Thomas Zotz

emperor, two of the charters which he issued there make mention of the Magdaburgense palatium. 86 With this definition of the palatium by reference to its location, a usage common in the Carolingian period was taken up for the first time in the Ottonian Reich (cf. palatium Aquense, Lateranense and Ticinense). 81 It seems to me that this very formulation expresses the claim that the Magdeburg palace should be regarded as part of the tradition initiated by the Carolingian palaces, and the existence of a palace such as that uncovered in Magdeburg would be entirely consistent with this aspiration (cf. the site plan of Magdeburg, fig. 3). We learn more about the political significance of the Magdeburg palace from the last two years of Otto the Great' s reign. When in 972 the Emperor was still in Italy and Duke Hermann (Billung) was acting as his regent in Saxony, something happened in Magdeburg which is described for us in astonishing detail by the chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg. 88 During an assembly of Saxon magnates held at Magdeburg in the spring, Hermann was received by Archbishop Adalbert of Magdeburg who led him by the hand to the church amid burning candles and to the accompaniment of pealing bells. When Count Henry (von Stade), grandfather of the chronicler, protested against this display of superbia by the duke, on the grounds that he was allowing himself to be treated and honoured like the king, Hermann attempted, at first unsuccessfully, to seize his opponent. Then he ordered him to go to Otto in Rome. Obviously, what had happened was not to be concealed from the Emperor, but was to be made public as a deliberate demonstration by the Saxon nobility against their ruler. In Rome, Count Henry gave a full report to the Emperor of the Duke's reception, how at table he had occupied the Emperor's seat in the midst of the bishops, and how he had slept in the Emperor's bed. Otto's enraged response to this was to order the 86 87 88

DOI, nos. 297,301, in Die Urkunden ... Kaiser, I, 414,417. Zotz, 'Palatium publicum', pp. 89-91. Thietmar of Merseburg, Chronicon, ii. 28, edited by Robert Holtzmann, MGH SRG, NS, IX, 2nd edn (Berlin, 1955), 74. Cf. Gerd Althoff, 'Das Bett des Konigs in Magdeburg. Zu Thietmar II, 28', in Festschrift fur Berent Schwinekoper zu seinem siebzigsten Geburtstag, edited by Helmut Maurer and Hans Patze (Sigmaringen, 1982), pp. 141-53.

Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation


Archbishop of Magdeburg (not Duke Hermann!) to send him as many horses as he had had bells rung and candles burned. After returning to Germany in August 972, the Emperor celebrated Palm Sunday in the following year at Magdeburg festivo honore, as Thietmar von Merseburg again reports. 89As he walked in procession back from the church to his apartments, he had many candles carried before him and his large retinue of priests, dukes and counts. As Gerd Althoff has stressed, this glittering reception of the Emperor was no doubt intended to obliterate the memory of the previous year's events.90 At the same time, this was the first and last visit which Otto the Great made to Magdeburg since its elevation to archiepiscopal status in the year 968. 91 This underlines the significance of the presumptuous conduct of Duke Hermann, who at Magdeburg had himself honoured like a king and acted like one by eating and sleeping in the place of the Emperor in the palatium, the concrete expression of royal power in terms of place. Let us look briefly at the situation in Magdeburg and compare it with that in Aachen.92 The topography of the whole complex in each place shows both similarities and differences. In both cases, the religious building and the secular building lie parallel to one another in a west-easterly direction, with a large space between them. In Aachen, however, this space is roughly twice as large as in Magdeburg (130 m as against 50 m). Another difference is that the great hall in the Magdeburg palatium is placed at right angles running in a northsouth direction.93 The aula in Magdeburg differs in shape from that in Aachen, too. The latter had three apses, following the example of the Late Antique aula of the palace at Trier. In Magdeburg, the 89 Thietmar, Chronicon, ii. 30, p. 76. 90

Althoff, 'Bett des Konigs', p. 148.

91 Regesta Jmperii, 11/1,no. 561a. 92 Walter Kaemmerer, 'Die Aachener Pfalz Karls des Gro8en in Anlage und Oberlieferung', in Karl der Grofle, I, 322-48; Leo Hugot, 'Die Pfalz Karls des GroBen in Aachen', in Karl der Grofle, III, edited by Wolfgang Braunfels and Hermann Schnitzler, 3rd edn (Dilsseldorf, 1966), 534-72; Flach, Untersuchungen, pp. 21-54; Falkenstein, 'Charlemagne et Aix-Ia-Chapelle'. 93 Cf. the plans in Hugot, 'Die Pfalz Karls des GroBen in Aachen', and Lehmann, •Der Palast Ottos des GroBen'.


Thomas Zotz

model was rather the architecture of Late Antique thermae, with their apses placed opposite one another. Thus, in its position relative to the church of St Mauritius (which was not yet a cathedral at that time!), the Magdeburg palatium appears as an 'Aachen-quotation'; in its structure, however, it appears as an independent piece of architecture. Awareness of Carolingian tradition and differentiating innovation, both elements of Ottonian rule, are clearly reflected in the design of the central locus regius of the Ottonians. If we continue to observe the rivals Aachen-Magdeburg in the governing practice of the later Ottonians, we can detect an interesting balance in the frequency of visits paid to them: Otto II and Otto III stayed in both places approximately five times, and Henry II approximately ten times.94 Under this last king and emperor, however, two different Saxon locations came into prominence at the start of the eleventh century: first, Merseburg, where there had been a palace since the time of Henry I, and Which with twenty-two visits tops the list of places included in the itineraries of Henry II not only in Saxony but in the whole empire;95 secondly, Goslar, until that time not a place visited by the kings, but now the siteof a new foundation of immense importance for the future.96 It would be rewarding to analyse the ruling practices of Henry II, who was the last representative of the Ottonian dynasty and at the same time a great innovator on the threshold to the Salian era, but this would lead us too far.97 Instead, the last part of my paper will examine briefly the palatine policy of the Salian dynasty with reference back to Carolingian and Ottonian times.

94 Bohmer-Zimmermann, Regesta lmperii, 11/6,3-7. 95 Walter Schlesinger. 'Merseburg', in Deutsche Konigspfalzen, l, 158-206;

Schubert, Stiitten siichsischer Kaiser, pp. 181-202.

Die Sa/ier und das Reich, II, 373-428; Schubert, Stiitten siichsischer Kaiser, pp. 203-30. 97 Josef Fleckenstein, Die Hofkapelle der deutschen Konige, II, Schriften der MGH, 16, II (Stuttgart. 1966), 156-233; Keller, 'Reichsstruktur', pp. 85-128; Stefan Weinfurter, 'Die Zentralisierung der Herrschaftsgewalt im Reich durch Kaiser Heinrich II.•, Historisches Jahrbuch, CVI ( 1986), 241-97. 96 Joachim Dahlhaus, 'Zu den Anfiingen von Pfalz und Stiften in Goslar', in

Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation


4. Looking Ahead to the Salian Period Sella Chuonradi habet ascensoria Caroli: 'From Conrad's saddle hang the stirrups of Charles'. According to Wipo of Burgundy, 98 this saying was circulating among the people, when in 1024 the Frankish Conrad succeeded to the throne after the death of the childless Henry 11.99 In contrast to the situation at the beginning of the Ottonian dynasty, the legitimating connection to the Carolingians and to the Carolingian par excellence seems to have been deliberately sought and perceived on this occasion, and it was reinforced through Conrad's marriage to Gisela, who was, as Wipo emphasizes, a descendant· of Charlemagne. loo What impression do we gain of the ruling practices of Conrad II from his itineraries? 101 What importance did the Carolingian palatia 9 8 Wipo,

Gesta Chuonradi, c. 6, pp. 28-9. On this, see Stefan Weinfurter, 'Herrschaftslegitimation und Konigsautoritiit im Wandel: Die Salier und ihr Dom zu Speyer', in Die Salier und das Reich, l, 55-96, at p. 71. 99 Stefan Weinfurter, Herrschaft und Reich der Salier. Grundlinien einer Umbruchzeit (Sigmaringen, 1991), pp. 24-43. For the new dynasty cf. Karl Schmid, 'Zurn Haus- und Herrschaftsverstiindnis der Salier', in Die Safier und das Reich, l, 21-54. IOO Wipo, Gesta Chuonradi, c. 4, p. 25: Cui (scil. Gisela) pater erat Herimannus dux Alamanniae, mater eius Kerbirga /ilia Chuonradi regis de Burgundiafuit, cuius parentes de Caroli Magni stirpe processerant. Otto of Freising, writing in the middle of the twelfth century, correctly saw that with Henry, the son of Conrad II and Gisela, the imperial office was brought back again ad generosum et antiquum germen Karoli. Otto von Freising, Chronica, vi. 32, p. 297. On this and on the idea of the reditus regni Francorum ad stirpem Karoli among the Capetians around 1200, see Otto Gerhard Oexle, •Aspekte der Geschichte des Adels im Mittelalter und in der Friihen Neuzeit', in Europiiischer Adel 1750-1950, edited by Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Geschichte und Gesellschaft, Sonderheft, 13 (Gottingen, 1990), pp. 19-56, at pp. 30-1. IOI Cf. Eckhard Muller-Mertens, 'Reich und Hauptorte der Salier: Probleme und Fragen', in Die Sa/ier und das Reich, l, 139-58, and Idem and Wolfgang Huschner, Reichsintegration im Spiegel der Herrschaftspraxis Kaiser Konrads 11., Forschungen zur mittelalterlichen Geschichte, 35 (Weimar, 1992).


Thomas Zotz

have for him? The new king visited Aachen three times, but only in the early years of his reign. In September 1024 he began his iter per regna in the palatium, where the publicus thronus regalis, the totius regni archisolium from Charlemagne's time, was located.102 In 1025 Conrad II celebrated Christmas at Aa~hen, and at Easter 1028 he was there for the coronation of his son Henry. 103 The Carolingian palace at Ingelheim also lay on Conrad's first iter in 1024 and was the place where the new king redeemed his pledge (votum caritatis) to the see of Speyer which had been made ante regni nostri primicias.104 Of far greater consequence, however, is the fact that, at the start of his reign, but also in the later years, Conrad II went to the places associated with the Ottonians and Henry II. Four times he visited M~burg (1025, 1028, 1032, 1035) and Merseburg (1025, 1030, i 1032, 1033); visits were also paid to Allstedt (1028, 1031, 1039) and ' Quedlinburg (1025, 1032). On three occasions he visited the Bamberg of Henry II (1025, 1030, 1035), and Goslar, the other new foundation of this king, he visited no fewer than six times (I 025, 1031, I 034, I 038), three of them for the celebration of Christmas. With this - 'Christmas in Goslar', Conrad II established a consuetudo, which became an essential feature of the whole Salian period and which acquired great significance particularly in the turmoil of the Investiture Controversy. 105 The 'second king' of the Salian dynasty-Henry III-will concern us only briefly. From his itineraries and his palatine policy it becomes evident how securely this dynasty had established itself. For 1



Wipo, Gesta Chuonradi, c. 6, p. 28. Johann Friedrich Bohmer, Regesta lmperii, III, part I, edited by Heinrich Appelt (Graz, 1951), nos. 5a, 48a, 117a. 104 Bohmer-Appelt, Regesta lmperii, III/I, no. 4. Cf. Karl Schmid, 'Die Sorge der Salier um ihre Memoria. '.Zeugnisse,Erwagungen und Fragen', in Memoria. Der geschichtliche Zeugniswert des liturgischen Gedenkens im Mitte/alter, edited by Karl Schmid and Joachim Wollasch, Mtinstersche MittelalterSchriften, 48 (Munich, 1984), pp. 666-726, at pp. 672, 702. At p. 692, Schmid quotes the necrology of Speyer (thirteenth century, supplementum): idem predictus Cunradus imperator dedit vii/am Joheningen cum omnibus appenditiis. 105 Cf. Dahlhaus, 'Zu den Anfangen', pp. 383- 7. 102 103

Carolingian Tradition and Ottonian-Salian Innovation


Henry III it was obviously possible and desirable, in a way that had not been the case at all for his father, to place his own emphases in palatine policy and in the palatine system. Principally concerned here is, of course, Goslar which Henry III made into a locus regius of a special kind and visited frequently. He stayed there twenty-two times I06-a figure which reminds us of the significance of Merseburg for Henry II or of Magdeburg for Otto I. In Goslar, before the middle of the 11th century, he built a new palace 107 and founded two houses of canons, the palatine foundation of St Simon and St Jude, and east of the town the house of St Peter. 108 This is not the place to go into the numerous controversial questions concerning the early history of Goslar; 109 rather, I shall restrict myself to making some comments on the role which palaces may be seen to have played in the thinking of this second king in a dynasty. Like Otto I as the second of the Ottonians, the second of the Salians wished to put an innovatory stamp on his rule through the building of a new palace. In doing so, however, Henry III, in contrast to Otto, went back to an already existing tradition, namely to the new Saxon palace founded by Henry II, 110 who in this respect too functioned as a connecting link between the tres Ottones and the Salian kings and emperors.

Dahlhaus, 'Zu den Anfiingen', p. 375. Cf. Uvo Holscher, Die Kaiserpfalz Goslar, Die deutschen Kaiserpfalzen, I (Berlin, 1927); Konrad Weidemann, 'Burg, Pfalz und Stadt als Zentren der Konigsherrschaft am Nordharz', in Goslar, Bad Harzburg, Fuhrer zu den vor- und friihgeschichtlichen Denkmalem, 35 (Mainz, 1978), pp. 11-50; Fritz Arens, 'Die Konigspfalz Goslar und die Burg Dankwarderode in Braunschweig', in Stadt im Wandel, III, edited by Cord Meckseper (Braunschweig, 1985), 117-49; Cord Meckseper, 'Zur salischen Gestalt des Palas der Konigspfalz in Goslar', in Burgen der Salierzeit, edited by Horst Wolfgang Bohme, I (Sigmaringen, 1991), 85-95. 108 Fleckenstein, Hojkapelle, II, 280-7; Streich, Burg und Kirche, pp. 422-6; Peter Moraw, 'Die Pfalzstifte der Salier', in Die Salier und das Reich, II, 355-72,atpp.369-71. I09 Dahlhaus, 'Zu den Anfiingen•, passim. 110 Wilhelm Berges, 'Zur Geschichte des Werla-Goslarer Reichsbezirks vom neunten bis zum elften Jahrhundert', in Deutsche Konigspfalzen, l, 113-57; Rieckenberg, •KonigsstraBe'. pp. 71-86. 106 107


Thomas 'Zotz

An obvious question to ask also in this instance of the exceptional palace at Goslar is how it related to Aachen, the yardstick of palatine policy in the Early and the High Middle Ages. Henry III stayed in Aachen seven times, which might give the impression that this ruler showed proper respect for the precipua cis Alpes regia sedes. If we examine the situation more closely, however, taking the chronology into account, a rather different picture emerges. Before he was crowned emperor on Christmas day I 046, 111Henry visited Aachen six times; thereafter he was there only once, in 1049. It is precisely in this period of his reign that is to be dated the rebuilding of the Goslar palace-as the embodiment of his imperial status.112As the ce111reof ,> Sa!ian pqwer. Goslar was meant to 'quote' Aachen and at the same time~to be seen as different from it. The large space between the palatium and the church of SS. Simon and Jude in Goslar recalls Aachen, the buildings being almost the same distance apart ( 130 m) as those at Aachen. The length of the great hall in Goslar actually exceeds that of the great hall in Aachen. I I 3 And yet, Goslar is not a \ faithful copy of Aachen; rather it no doubt recalled Aachen just faintly, faintly enough for it to appear as a locus regius with a quality and legitimacy of its own (cf. the ground plan of Goslar, fig. 4).

*** Carolingian tradition and Ottonian-Salian innovation: I hope I have demonstrated the outstanding political significance which attached to the palatia, as the material embodiment of the regnum, in the practice of government and in the organization of the itinerary, which was-I repeat-'the most essential institution' of kingship. In

111Tilman Struve, 'Heinrich Ill.', in Lexikon des Mittelalters, IV (Munich/ Ziirich, 1989), 2039--41.

112 Cf. Dahlhaus, 'Zu den Anfiingen', p. 401, who pointed out that Henry did not stay in Goslar between Christmas 1045 and March 1049, presumably because of construction work. 113 Aachen: 47.42 m. (external measurement, without the apse), Hugot, 'Pfalz Karls des GroBen', p. 551; Goslar: 47.14 m. (internal measurement), Arens, 'Konigspfalz Goslar', p. 12l.





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Thomas Zotz

an age when political thought had little theoretical underpinning,! 14 it is precisely the concrete expressions of royal power which seem to have had prestige and influence, being, as representative insignia, more readily intelligible to the 'imaginaire medieval' than abstract trains of thought. 115 The legitimation of medieval rulership was a process subject to opposed and conflicting tendencies--on the one hand, the impetus to invoke the past in the shape of the 'founding' Carolingians, and in particular of Charlemagne, and on the other hand, the necessity for innovation. How and when the kings and emperors of the medieval Reich understood and tried to solve this problem is vividly exemplified not least by their palatine system and their palatine policy.

Fried, 'Herrschaftsverband', passim. 115 Cf. the well-known incident of the destruction of the royal palace at Pavia in I024 after the death of Henry II and the following discourse on the principle si rex periit, regnum remansit, transmitted by Wipo, Gesta Chuonradi, c. 7, p. 30. Cf. Helmut Beumann, 'Zur Entwicklung transpersonaler Staatsvorstellungen', in Das Konigtum. Seine geistigen und rechtlichen Grundlagen, Vortrage und Forschungen, 3, 4th edn (Sigmaringen, 1973), pp. 185-224. 114


Wendy Davies University College London There is an eighth-century Irish law text about status which-in discussing the status of the king (ri)--explains what a king does on each day of the week: Sunday for beer-drinking, Monday for dealing with disputes between peoples, Tuesday for board games, Wednesday for following the hounds, Thursday for marital intercourse, Friday for horse-racing, Saturday for judgments. 1 In other words, it defines the royal function as judgment, foreign policy, playing games and getting drunk; the king has very limited practical functions and is conspicuously idle; he is a person of leisure; indeed, earlier in the text, he loses status if he does manual work.2 The image of kingship that we find in this and related Irish texts has often been used as a stereotype for 'Celtic' kingship: a smallscale ruler with no regulatory powers and with very little experience of, or aptitude for, government; whose office symbolized the identity of the group he led; whose inauguration was accompanied by bizarre ceremonials that symbolized his mating with the land (or the tribal goddess); who did extraordinarily little, but by his very being guaranteed both security and good fortune for the group. This is the king called sacral and tribal by many modem scholars, and-more graphi1


Crfth Gablach, edited by D. A. Binchy, Mediaeval and Modem Irish Series, I I (Dublin, 1941), c. 41. See the comments of Thomas Charles-Edwards,' A Contract between King and People in Early Medieval Ireland? Crith Gablach on Kingship', forthcoming; I am most grateful to Dr Charles-Edwards for allowing me to see this paper in advance of publication. Crith Gablach, c. 40.


Wendy Davies

cally-the 'priestly vegetable' by Patrick Wormald.3 It is a kingship which is pre-eminently passive, non-bureaucratic, and charismatic. The ideology that we find in this and related texts is clear enough; the texts are well placed in time and space and relate to Ireland in the seventh and eighth centuries. But even in seventh-century Ireland, one can find alternative images and there are certainly plenty of alternatives to be found in other Celtic areas; hence, it must at the outset be questionable whether the passive, charismatic model of kingship is applicable to all-or any-Celtic areas in the historic perioci. Consider, for contrast, some of these alternative images. There is, for example, the tyrant king Benlli of Powys in north Wales, who used to kill anyone who did not arrive for work before sunrise, as related by the early ninth-century Historia Brittonum. 4 The image of rulership here is overwhelmingly one of power and maleficence: the ruler interferes in the private lives of his subjects; the ruler causes trouble; the ruler is pre-eminently active. Or, a story from the earliest (ninth-century) Life of Machutes (Saint Malo), of a common type: the ruler of northern Brittany, Hailoch, tried to destroy Saint Malo's monastic church; he was therefore blinded; but he went to seek pardon for his dreadful deed, and gave the saint some excellent and fertile lands as well as gold and silver; the blinding was then miraculously lifted. This is a type of story repeated in many later Welsh Lives, and other texts: rulers raided, rounded up cattle, burnt barns, and pursued and attacked those who opposed them. The climax of the stories usually demonstrates 3


For the 'priestly vegetable', see P. Wormald,'Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Kingship: Some Further Thoughts', in Sources of Anglo-Saxon Culture, edited by P. E. Szarmach with V. D. Oggins, Studies in Medieval Culture, 20 (Kalamazoo, 1986), pp. 151-83, at p. 153. The most frequently cited inauguration ceremony is the supposed bathing in mare's broth reported by Giraldus Cambrensis; see F. J. Byrne, Irish Kings and High-Kings (London, 1973), pp. 17-18. For the stereotype, see D. A. Binchy, Celtic and AngloSaxon Kingship (Oxford, 1970), pp. 8-11. Other texts: Audacht Morainn, edited by F. Kelly (Dublin, 1976), and discussion at pp. xiii-xvi. Historia Brittonum, cc. 32-3, in Chronica Minora Saec. IV. V. VI. VII., III, edited by T. Mommsen, MGH AA. XIII (Berlin, 1898), 111-222, at pp. 1725.

Celtic Kingships


that when the ruler (or his men) entered ecclesiastical property, terrible disasters struck: they were blinded; the earth swallowed them up; the stolen cattle would not cook when put in the pot, and so on. 5 The principal purpose of telling such tales is to make a point about ecclesiastical immunities, but what is interesting in the present context is the emphasis on the king as enemy (arch enemy); kings are raiders, thieves, destroyers; they are people to be feared, people of power again, and also-explicitly-of violence. When the hagiographers wanted to typify a raider, again and again they chose a king as their example. Or a last example, from Adomnan's Life of Columba, written c. 700 by an Irish abbot on a Scottish island, about people in Scotland: some of Saint Columba's disciples set sail on spiritual journeys, they knew not whither; fearing for their safety when they landed, Columba went to the great king Brode (a Pict) and told him to instruct the king of the Orkneys, whose hostages Brode was holding, to safeguard the lives of the saint's disciples if they should land on the islands. A certain Cormac did land on the Orkneys and he was preserved from death because of Columba's intervention with Brude, Adomnan would have us believe. Here again is an image of power, but effective power, used for beneficent purposes. 6 Images of kingship will vary in accordance with the type of text and perspective of the author, in Celtic areas as in any other partseven though they are all in some way Christian and are all subject to the influence of biblical models. There are many different images of Celtic kingship to be found, and many of them are extremely unlike the Cr{th Gablach view of the king's week with which I began. In many parts the stereotype of royal behaviour was more likely to stress the activity of the king, his power, and his propensity to command, than the passive, sacral character of a man who guaranteed good fortune. Prima Vita Machutis, c. 19, in F. Lot, Melanges d'histoire bretonne (Paris, 1907), pp. 294-329, at pp. 318-19; cf., passim, Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae et Genealogiae, edited by A. W. Wade-Evans, Board of Celtic Studies History and Law Series, 9 (Cardiff, 1944). 6 Adomntin's Life of Columba, edited by A. 0. and M. 0. Anderson (London, 1961), II, 42. 5


Wendy Davies

The differences between images do not have to be confusing and can, indeed, be useful; they remind us that perspective varies with the eye of the beholder and they alert us to the possibility, indeed likelihood, of differences between the kingships of different Celtic areas. In what follows, I want to develop your appreciation of the differences between political institutions in Celtic areas in the early middle ages, and then go on to consider their significance for our understanding of the nature and working of Celtic societies and the roles of the king in those societies. My concern is with the six Celtic countries of Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, Comwall/Dumnonia and Brittany; and it is with the early middle ages, that is the period before the impact of the several Norman conquests and infiltrations. Normans were influencing Brittany by the early eleventh century. Wales and Scotland by the late eleventh century, and Ireland by the mid-twelfth. Dumnonia had already been conquered by the English in the late ninth/early tenth century; and the Isle of Man, about which very little evidence survives, was politically dominated by Norse rulers from about the middle of the ninth century. These countries are 'Celtic' because their vernacular languages were Celtic during the early middle ages (and in parts remain so to this day), although the vernaculars were increasingly interpenetrated with English, French and Norse as conquests introduced the settlement of foreigners and involved the areas in wider political cultures. However, even in the very early middle ages the commonness of Celtic was itself diverse: there are two broad linguistic divisions, that between Gaelic (or Q-Celtic), the language of Ireland and western Scotland, and Brittonic (or P-Celtic), the language group of the rest; by the eighth century the separate Brittonic languages of Cumbric, Welsh and Comish/Breton were distinguishable.7 We should therefore remember that people did not all speak the same language in Celtic areas, even in the early middle ages, and only a few of the Celtic languages were mutually intelligible. Although my concern is with the early middle ages as a whole, in 7

K. Jackson, Language a11dHistory in Early Britain (Edinburgh, 1953); Cornish and Breton were interchangeable at this date and not distinguishable as separate languages before the eleventh century.

Celtic Kingships


the broad sense of the sixth to the eleventh centuries inclusive, it is essential to point out that the source material available for Celtic areas is varied in quality and non-existent at some periods in some places. On the whole, Irish material is plentiful from the seventh century, and of varied types, both in Latin and the vernacular; Welsh material is extremely unevenly distributed, and fuller for the South East than for other parts; Breton sources are exceptionally rich for the ninth century but almost non-existent for seventh, eighth and tenth centuries; Cornish and Scottish sources are very thin; and Man sources barely exist at all before the late eleventh century. This makes comparison difficult, and always tends to make the Irish perspective the most prominent. Whether the sources are rich or scanty, times change and 600 years is a very long time. Quite apart from the impact of foreign invasion and infiltration of foreign influence, it is only reasonable to suppose (and indeed it is often demonstrable) that these societies changed between 500 and 1100 AD, and between 500 and 800, 700 and 900, and so on. While remaining aware of developments within the longer term, I shall therefore focus this paper on the century round about 800-900 AD, a time for which there is reasonably comparable source material for all areas except the Isle of Man and Cornwall, and a time removed both from the impenetrably obscure relationships and institutions of the sixth century and from the rapidly increasing cross-cultural interchange of the eleventh. Although a full study would involve consideration of inauguration, income, succession, and so on, I shall focus on issues of scale, political system and royal function, since comparison is particularly instructive in these respects. My interest, of course, is primarily in the broad lines of comparative analysis rather than in the particularities of detail in any one area. Scale

Whether we are considering the year 500 or the year 1100, Ireland was a land of many kings and thereby of exceptionally small kingdoms-the land of ri and tuath, 'king' (cognate with rex) and


Wendy Davies

'people' .8 Estimates of the number of tuatha vary between 80 and 150, often calculated by reference to later baronies, for we have no way of making a precise calculation at any point in the pre-Norman period. 9 However, it must be relevant that references to different peoples in the sixth, seventh and eighth centuries are many and are consistent with estimates in the order of 100 tuatha round about 800 AD. 10 Given the size of Ireland, here is a political structure whose basic units were of the order of 10-12 miles radius and 375 square miles in area. In fact, the political structure was more complex than this, since there were overkings (ruir() as well as kings, and over time the range and powers of overkings developed and increased. Over time the number of tuatha seems to have declined somewhat, as also the independence of some of the rf, and by the middle of the eleventh century the classic pattern of many small kingdoms with some fluctuating overkingships was obviously changing. However, even at that date kingship was still conceptualized in terms of rf and tuath and there remained many small, sometimes independent, political units. I I 8

See F. J. Byrne, 'Tribes and Tribalism in Early Ireland', Eriu, XXII (1971), 128-66, for a very helpful discussion of the range of reference of the word tuath in the early middle ages. 9 But see A. P. Smyth, Celtic Leinster (Blackrock, 1982), for a very imaginative attempt to reconstruct some; see especially 'Historical Atlas', pp. I 3957. 10 Cf. the 50 or so kings named in the list of those agreeing to Cain Adomnain, kings who came from the orbit influenced by Iona; M. Nf Dhonnchadha, 'The Guarantor List of Cain Adomnain, 697', Peritia, I (1982), 178-215, at pp. 180-1. 11 See below, pp. 110-12, for further discussion of overkings. See D. 6 Corrain, 'Nationality and Kingship in pre-Norman Ireland', in Nationality and the Pursuit of National Independence, edited by T. W. Moody (Belfast, 1978), pp. 1-35, for a useful discussion of the changing pattern of kingship, especially at pp. 9-11. He is right to point out that there is occasional reference to the leaders of some tuatha as duces rather than reges from 756, but the proportion of cases is tiny and the change in terminology was not always sustained. Compare the eleventh-century Kells charters, which list local rulers and refer to each as rf; Notitiae as Leabhar Cheanannais, edited by G. Mac Niocaill (Dublin, 1961). Further, though a few tuatha were clearly 'taken over' by others from the mid-eighth century, what is significant is that their independent identity continued-for centuries: when an Uf Neill ruler

Celtic Kingships


The political language of the Annals up to the early twelfth century is still overwhelmingly dominated by the words rex and r{, although to{sech (leader) and tigerna (lord) undoubtedly sometimes occur in eleventh- and twelfth-century texts. Kingship continued to be defined at the small-scale base level. By the eleventh century-indeed by the tenth-the political structure of Scotland was quite different; but its earlier background was also different and reflected the presence of different linguistic groups. While it is not impossible that there were three or four Irishtype tuatha in the Irish-settled parts of south-western Scotland in the sixth century, what we know of other parts suggests larger units at that early date. British kingdoms of the Lowlands were in the order of 40 miles across, 1250 square miles in area; while, if Pictland to the east and north comprised the seven regions of tradition, as it may have done, then those regions were of a comparable or larger size. It is difficult to be certain about this background because of problems of evidence. What is clear is that by the eighth century an extremely powerful single Pictish kingdom had been established, of vastly greater size, and that in the middle of the ninth century a single monarchy of a larger kingdom of Scotland came into being. Over the tenth and eleventh centuries this kingdom had a complex relationship with resident and attacking Scandinavians but it came to absorb the last remaining British kingdom, Strathclyde, and came to acquire a size and shape comparable to that of modern Scotland. Even by 900, however, its size was of the order of 20,000 square miles. 12 Brittany looks in some ways similar to Scotland, since a wideranging single monarchy was established in the peninsula in the midninth century. However, its background was quite different: there had been several, independent regional rulerships in the area, of a scale comparable to the British kingdoms of early Scotland, but these were not normally described as kingdoms; I know of no surviving ideology took over the Corco Sogain tuath in 816, he became rex Corco Sogain. Byrne, Irish Kings and High-Kings, cc. 1-3, remains an exceptionally good overview of Irish kingship. 12 See A. A. M. Duncan, Scotland, the Making of the Kingdom, Edinburgh History of Scotland, I (Edinburgh, 1975), for a good general survey.


Wendy Davies

of kingship from early Brittany. 13 The establishment of the ninthcentury monarchy arose in response to the very particular circumstance of Carolingian conquest. The Breton Nominoe took responsibility for the whole peninsula in the 830s, initially as an agent of the Carolingians. His successors Erispoe and-especially-Salomon acted more independently and were usually referred to as principes, and occasionally reges.1 4 Though relationships with Frankish rulers fluctuated in the later ninth century, this period was crucial to the formation of the political identity of Brittany; the Breton principes behaved as independent rulers and dealt with Brittany as if it were a separate state. This was short-lived as a royal monarchy for the rulers of Brittany became known as dukes of the west Frankish kingdom in the tenth century. The extent to which they were independent of the French monarchy in the period before their full integration with France in the late fifteenth century varied with French, English and Norman politics, but was often considerable. However, the events of the ninth century still remained significant since centralized institutions of government for the peninsula had been established then and continued thereafter, whether they were termed royal or ducal. Brittany took its shape from the ninth-century developments, and became a state of about half the size of Scotland ( 13600 square miles). Dumnonia is also similar, in the sense that we have no knowledge of any political unit other than the single relatively large monarchy evidenced in the early sixth century; nothing suggests the existence of any other political units. This unit initially comprised much of the 13 See W. Davies,


Small Worlds (London, 1988), pp. 13-24, for a summary of developments; for longer discussions, A. Le Moyne de la Borderie, Histoire de Bretagne, 6 vols (Rennes, 1896-1904), I-II, and A. Chedeville and H. Guillote), la Bretagne des saints et des rois, Jl?-xe siec/e (Rennes, 1984). There is one reference to a ruler as rex in the pre-ninth-century period, and that is in a Frankish source; The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar, translated by J.M. Wallace-Hadrill (London, I 960), c. 78, at p. 66. There is a gloss (ri on regie) which implies that the vernacular language of kingship remained in use-at least among scholars; L. Fleuriot, Dictionnaire du vieux breton, Collection Linguistique, 62 (Paris, I 964), p. 296. See now J.M. H. Smith, Province and Empire (Cambridge, 1992) for a detailed analysis of the Frankish relationship.

Celtic Kingships


south-western peninsula of England-Cornwall, Devon, and parts of Somerset and Dorset-and was half the size of Brittany. Over the course of the seventh century English conquest confined this kingdom to the area of modem Cornwall, something in the order of 1350 square miles; the English sustained their interest in the county and filtered first into east Cornwall and finally by the early tenth century into the far west. The last king of Cornwall drowned in 875; there is no trace of any later Comish rulers, either dependent or independent. The West Saxon king Egbert made grants of Comish property in the early ninth century and King Alfred included Comish lands in the bequests detailed in his will; King Athelstan seems to have crushed any outstanding resistance in his campaigns of 927.15 The scale and relationships of kingdoms in Wales provide a different pattern. In the early centuries Wales was essentially a land of small independent kingdoms, sometimes shared between brothers, and uncomplicated by overkingship structures. In the late sixth century in the South East there are hints of the existence of small kingdoms on the Irish scale but in other parts there is only reference to larger kingdoms, comparable to the British kingdoms of the Scottish Lowlands. Over time some kingdoms thrived and absorbed others, so that the number of units declined and the size of the remaining units grew; by the tenth century Wales was a land of three principal kingdoms, Gwynedd, Dyfed and Morgannwg, as it remained until the Norman Conquest. These are kingdoms of the order of 29 miles radius, 2700 square miles area. 16 In all areas structures changed over time, and scale was not therefore a constant. It is not the purpose of this paper to investigate the different reasons for change but it is relevant to its subject to be aware that each area had a different starting point and that the structures changed in different ways. Wales, Dumnonia, and Brittany all had a background of government through the provincial structure of the Roman Empire, as did the Scottish Lowlands for a time; the kingdoms that emerged in these areas commonly (though not invari15

Susan M. Pearce, The Kingdom of Dumnonia (Padstow, 1978).

16 W. Davies, Wales in the Early Middle Ages (Leicester, 1982), pp. 85-120, for

a general survey.


Wendy Davies

ably) took their shape from Roman civitates; so, insofar as there is a commonness in their initial size and shape in the early middle ages, that is strongly influenced by their Roman backgrounds. The Irish model, conveyed so powerfully in Crfth Gablach and other texts, relates to institutions on an entirely different scale from those that we find in other Celtic areas, with the exception of the Isle of Man: 700AD 900AD






375 375

375/13200 21600

2700 13600


1250 2700

I/ x35 X 58

x7 X 36


x3 x7


(These figures do not pretend to offer a precise definition of territory in each case, for they are estimates designed to emphasize the order of difference.)

For Man, one can only make flimsy guesses about the early political structure: the Welsh collection of genealogies in BL MS Harleian 3859 includes the genealogy of a Brittonic Man dynasty, whose kings peter out at a period consistent with the eighth century, while later Welsh collections claim a royal female from Man as an ancestor of the Gwynedd kings. 17 If there is anything in this, it suggests Man was a tiny British kingdom, about half the size of the Irish tuath. Certainly, much later, there were kings of Man who ruled this small province together with the Western Isles of Scotland, although often subject to the domination of Norwegian rulers. IS Political Systems

Overkingship was fundamental to the Irish political system, as much in 1100 as in 500 or 800 AD. Ireland was a region characterized by a complex multiplicity of overkingships: some kings were 17

P. C. Bartrum, Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts (Cardiff, 1966), p. 10. However, note Mr Bartrum's warning that these kings may have been of Galloway origin (p. 126). 18 R. H. Kinvig, The Isle of Man (Liverpool, 3rd edn, 1975), pp. 58--66. Godred Crovan, of uncertain origin, established the kingdom in 1079.

Celtic Kingships


overkings as well as being kings, and some were overoverkings (or overkings of overkings (ri ruirech)). What this meant in practice was that the more powerful kings established relationships outside their own tuatha: they made less powerful kings their dependents, establishing client relationships with them and expecting military support and tribute from them. Thereby, some kings became clients of other kings, and powerful kings could harness military support from lesser kings (as well as from their non-royal clients). These relationships of royal dependence did not alter the fact of ri and tuath and the relationship between them: most peoples continued to relate to their kings, who continued to defend and protect them and guarantee their good fortune; the overking had a relationship with his client king, and only had a relationship with that client's people in limited and occasional circumstances. 19 In practice the ri did not become the agent of a powerful ruler in a more complex state. In the early centuries overkingships were not institutionalized: their existence depended upon personal capacities of the moment and this made for extreme political instability at any level above the single tuath. But between 700 and 1100 AD several overkingships did become institutionalized-principally, the overkingships associated with the kingships of Tara (for the North) and Cashel (for the South), and those of Connacht (northwest) and Leinster (southeast). And in the eleventh century, some overkings levied exceptional taxes, using agents to collect them, and some attempted to enforce general laws on groups of tuatha. It is quite clear that the 'traditional' political 19

This issue lies at the heart of the problem of characterizing the Irish political system. The identity of tuatha was extremely persistent, and the association of ri and tuath was exceptionally strong in Old Irish material. There were still many kings in eleventh-century Ireland. If a tuath lost its ri, however, it might in practice relate to an overking, and even Crith Gablach allows for the possibility in the eighth century of overkings ruling those not subject to any other ruler, and for overkings forcing tuatha to make agreements (Crith Gablach, cc. 33, 38). The critical issue is the extent to which an overking might relate to his client king's people, in normal circumstances, both in the eighth and in the eleventh centuries. Although it is perfectly clear that overkings might do so, at both periods, it is exceptionally difficult to ascertain the normal situation-at either period.


Wendy Davies

system was changing.2° However, this did not prevent the continuing creation of other, more fragile and ephemeral, overkingships; and even in the institutionalized cases families and individuals competed for succession. Hence, Uf Briuin septs competed for die overkingship of Connacht; and Uf Dunlainge for that of Leinster, till the Uf Cheinnselaig returned in I 042. Donnchadh and his brother Tadg fought for the kingship of the Dai Cais after their father Brian Boru's death in 1014; Muirchertach Ua Briain and his brother Diarmait fought for the overkingship of Munster in the 1080s, and so on. So, there were undoubtedly changes from the 'classic' Irish system of the eighth century during the pre-Norman period: the institutionalization of some overkingships, the increasing geographical scale of the major overkingships, the disappearance of some tuatha; nevertheless, many individual tuatha did continue, as did the multiplicity of kings and the variability of overkingship pattems.2 1 In other Celtic areas, the exercise of kingship was much less complicated by overkings. I know of no hints of overkingship within Brittany or Dumnonia, either early or late. There were counts and there were rulers' agents to carry out the rulers' business; by the late ninth century the rulers of Brittany also had some vassals; but the agents and vassals were not themselves rulers of independent peoples.22 Although it is not impossible that both Irish and Picts in early Scotland knew overkings-the sixth-century Brude incident cited above certainly suggests that this is what Adomnan expected c. 700, from his Iona perspective-by 800 (and for most of the eighth century) the large Pictish kingdom seems to have been organized as a monarchy .23 The Pictish king had his agents, as had his Breton 20 21

6 Comiin. 'Nationality and Kingship'. pp. 20, 23. 6 Corrain, 'Nationality and Kingship', pp. 9-10, 25-6.

22 Davies, Small Worlds, pp. 184-6, 201-07. I am not considering here the intermittent relationship between Breton rulers and Frankish kings in the ninth century, which-when it existed-could be deemed a type of overkingship, though an overkingship external to Brittany; for this, see Smith, Province and Empire, especially pp. 108-15. 23 The Annals of Ulster (to AD I /3/ ), edited by S. Mac Airt and G. Mac Niocaill (Dublin, 1983), s.a. 739: the king of Athol was drowned by the king of the Picts; this is a unique reference, but it must imply the existence of at

Celtic Kingships


counterpart, and some agents may have had regional responsibilities.24 It looks as if the expanded Scottish kingdom of the later ninth century and later-again a monarchy-took over the administrative institutions of the developed Pictish state: by the eleventh century we certainly find royal agents (defined by a Brittonic term, mormaers) with regional responsibilities. 25 There was undoubtedly development in Scotland just as there was in Ireland, but the Scottish development neither built upon nor utilized overkingly relationships. Although it is quite reasonable to suggest that some early kings of Wales were more prominent, and therefore more powerful than others, I know of nothing which suggests that overkingship was a significant institution in Wales before 900. The early kings were independent. However, in the later ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries power relationships changed: firstly, the interest expressed by Engish kings in Wales led to the creation of dependent relationships between Welsh kings. The English kings from Alfred to Edgar expected 'submission' and occasional attendance at their courts in England, and they sometimes demanded military assistance and tribute; they did not, however, interfere directly in Welsh affairs. In effect, the English became overkings of many of the Welsh kings. Although the English relationship with Wales weakened considerably from the 950s, it is quite clear that the experience had repercussions within Wales: the leading Welsh kings of the later tenth and eleventh centuries sought the submission of their weaker neighbours. Overkingship therefore became prominent in Wales, where once it had been insignificant.26 There is therefore a further striking contrast between kingship in Ireland and in other Celtic areas: whereas overkingship was characleast some regional kings. Such traces, and ambiguities, disappear by 800. Historia Brittonum, c. 57, and Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, edited by B. Colgrave and R. A. B. Mynors (Oxford, 1969), v. 21: king of the Picts. 24 Exactatores (presumably tax collectors) of Nechtan, Annals of Ulster, s.a. 729. G. W. S. Barrow, The Kingdom of the Scots (London, 1973), pp. 30-68. 25 Barrow, Kingdom of Scots, p. 67; cf. K. Jackson, The Gaelic Notes in the BookofDeer(Cambridge, 1972), pp. 19, 101-10. 26 W. Davies, Patterns of Power in Early Wales (Oxford, 1990), pp. 67-79.


Wendy Davies

teristic of the political structure of Ireland throughout the early middle ages, and indeed became even more prominent in the eleventh century, it was neither characteristic nor even present in some other parts. In Brittany, in particular, and in the developing kingdom of Scotland other means of sustaining wide-ranging power were used. It is easiest to grasp the difference by expressing the two alternatives in an extreme form; on the one hand there were the complex and competing structures of Irish royal clientship, providing power, honour and status, and military support, for the successful overking but scarcely touching the life of the majority of the Irish population; and on the other the Breton or Scottish royal monarchy, with a central ruler controlling a wide area of territory and several groups of people, using royal agents to represent him about the territory and execute his will. This of course oversimplifies; and in practice would-be monarchs were not successful in their attempts to reach to the farthest parts of their kingdoms. However, there remains an essential difference between the man who is both king and client, whose role is to do his own business, and the man who is a royal agent, whose role is to do the king's business. The one succeeds through family rights, the other is appointed. There is also an essential difference between the ruler (overking) whose authority is limited to the inhabitants of a small zone, and a band of personal clients, and the ruler (monarch) who claims authority over all the people in a wide territory. The one deals in small numbers, the other in large; the one can move about his territory of rule on a daily basis if he has a horse, the other cannot possibly do so except at very infrequent intervals; the one can personally be known to all of the ruled, the other can be known to only a tiny proportion of them. Of course, these cases were not in practice so extreme: heredity would hang about the agent and the mechanisms of royal succession were far from straightforward. Any ruler's independence and autonomy were necessarily relative, and circumscribed by the powers of neighbours. And there were places-like Wales-with a complex mixture of systems. But there still remains a difference between the political system (like the monarchies) which begins to think about the government of subjects-however imperfectly-and the system (like the overkingships) which is essentially for the purpose of raising military support for the ruler, to sustain him in power.

Celtic Kingships



What were kings for? What roles were they acknowledged to have, regardless of whether or not they performed them, or performed them well? For all the differences in political systems, there were some functions that were common to Celtic kings. Both in theory and in practice kings tended to be the representatives of their kingdoms, negotiating with external agencies on behalf of their peoples. They met the first Christian missionaries and permitted them to preach; they wrote to foreign authorities for advice on religious doctrine, like Nechtan of the Picts; they made treaties with foreign rulers-over borders and other matters of common interest; they made alliances with foreign rulers, against enemies like the Vikings. 27 They also almost invariably had responsibility for the physical defence of their kingdoms against enemies, often through their own personal military capacity: these men were fighters, warrior leaders. The Breton ruler Salomon could not go on pilgrimage to Rome, as he wished, but had to stay and defend the Bretons against the Vikings; in Connacht, the Vi Maine king Cathal mac Murchad, and his nobles, fell at the battle of Forath in 818, and two kings of the Vi Briuin were successful (Diarmait mac Tomaltach and Mae] Cothaid mac Fogartach); the Gwynedd king Rhodri died fighting the English in north Wales in the late ninth century; the Pictish king Elpin fled the battlefield in 728, and the would-be king Conall escaped the field of battle in 789, after his defeat by Constantine. 28 In these two respects kingship was very 27 For example: Patrick,

Confessio, cc. 52, 53, in L. Bieler, 'Libri epistolarum Sancti Patrie ii Episcopi •, C/assica et mediaevalia, XI (1950), 1-150, XII (1951), 79-214; Bede's Ecclesiastical History, v. 21; The Text of the Book of Lian Diiv, edited by J. G. Evans with J. Rhys (Oxford: [published privately by JGE for subscribers], 1893), no. 192; Salomon and Franks against the Vikings, Annales de Saint-Bertin, edited by F. Grat, J. Vielliard, S. Clemencet (Paris, 1964), s.a. 868, 873 (pp. 151, 193-5); cf. Bede's Ecclesiastical History, iv. 26. 2 8 Cartulaire de Redon, edited by A. de Courson, Collection de documents inedits sur l'histoire de France (Paris, 1863), no. 247; Annals of Ulster, s.a. 818; Annales Cambriae, s.a. 877, in E. Phillimore,'The "Annales Cambriae" and Old-Welsh Genealogies from "Harleian MS." 3859', Y Cymmrodor, IX


Wendy Davies

similar in all Celtic areas. However, other royal functions differed, especially in relation to the conduct of business and the regulation of society. Responsibility for the formulation and expression of normative principles-lawsvaried considerably and was not necessarily a royal prerogative. However, a case can certainly be made that law-making was a distinctively royal function in Pictland in the eighth and ninth centuries.29 In Ireland, law-making was distinctively not a royal function. Both Ireland and Wales had cultures with powerful bodies of professional lawyers, whose function it was to collect, preserve, remember, declare and formulate (and therefore in practice modify) customary law. In Ireland there were certainly circumstances in which a king might make special commands, new rules, for the good of his tuath-in times of plague or invasion, or in support of ecclesiastical regulations (cdna)-but these were exceptional circumstances requiring an immediate or forceful reaction; they were not the norm.3° In Wales too kings were expected to make commands for the regulation of their territories by the tenth and eleventh centuries.3 I It may also be observed that one king's name, that of Hywel Dda, has been strongly associated with the collecting of Welsh law texts. Although it is extremely difficult to establish precisely the part that Hywel played in the tenth century, it is by no means impossible that he took some such initiative-perhaps conditioned by his experience at the English court. However, even if this was so, the vast bulk of the law remained customary, the initiative remains exceptional, and (1888); Annals of Ulster, s.a. 728, 789.

29 See M. 0. Anderson, 'Dalriada and the Creation of the Kingdom of the Scots'. in Ireland in Early Mediaeval Europe, edited by D. Whitelock, R. McKitterick, D. Dumville (Cambridge, I 982), pp. 106-32, at pp. 121-3; Wormald,'Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Kingship'. p. 169. 3o F. Kelly, A Guide to Early Irish law (Dublin, 1988), pp. 21-2; Binchy, Crith Gablach, p. I04; the parties to the promulgation of the ecclesiastical law Cain Adomnain, c. 697, included over fifty kings (Nf Dhonnchadha,'Guarantor List of Cain Adomnain', pp. 180-1). NB: clerics were among the legal professionals and some played a significant part in the preservation and study of the law; see 6 Corrain, 'Nationality and Kingship', pp. 14-15. 31 See Davies, Patterns of Power, pp. 81-3.

Celtic Kingships


the legal profession thrived throughout the middle ages.32 Brittany is remarkably different in that there is no early medieval evidence of the existence of professional lawyers and very little written law of any type; in view of the wealth of ninth-century evidence, its absence is very striking.3 3 Customary principles were obviously followed, but no-one made a business of recording them; and rulers made no show either of innovating or of controlling the process of recording.34 Rulership was exceptionally dis-associated from rule-making and rule-collecting. In law-making, then, it looks as if Pictish kings might have had a major role, Breton rulers had no role, and Irish and Welsh kings had some role, though a role limited by the expertise and interest of professional lawyers. Kings also played different parts in 'keeping order' in their societies. In all areas, as in much of western Europe, mechanisms for keeping order were largely private. And so, the use of sureties to guarantee contracts and dispute settlements was widespread.35 By this means private individuals selected reputable, and acceptable, 32 Welsh History Review: Special Number on The Welsh Laws, edited by G.




Williams (Cardiff, 1963); D. Jenkins, The Law of Hywel Dda (Llandysul, 1986), pp. xi-xx. NB the occurrence of the lawyer Blegywryd in the midtenth century, Book of Lian Diiv, no. 218. There were some people interested in law in Brittany, however, since several collections of Irish canonical material have a Breton origin, and some have Breton glosses; at least one collection (Paris, BN lat. 12021) was made in Brittany for an abbot; see The Irish Penitentials, edited by L. Bieler, Scriptores Latini Hiberniae, 5 (Dublin, 1963), pp. 12-16. W. Davies,'Disputes, their conduct and their settlement in the village communities of eastern Brittany in the ninth century', History and Anthropology, I. ii ( 1985), 289-312, at pp. 306-08. There are a couple of advocates mentioned in the Redon cartulary, but there is no reason to suppose that they were professionals; they were agents who spoke for women: Davies, Small Worlds, p. 170. D. B. Walters, 'The General Features of Archaic European Suretyship', and W. Davies, 'Suretyship in the Cartulaire de Redon', both in Lawyers and Laymen, edited by T. M. Charles-Edwards, M. E. Owen and D. B. Walters (Cardiff. 1986). I do not know of any early medieval Scottish evidence of the use of sureties, but the lacuna could be explained by the paucity of evidence in general.


Wendy Davies

members of the community to make sure that arrangements were carried out as agreed; if a problem subsequently occurred the surety might make reparations from his own means or force the defaulting party to meet his obligations. But occasionally an element of the public entered into the treatment of offences to the individual, and kings might then take a role. In Scotland, by the eleventh century, there was a royal officer (mair) who arrested those suspected of committing offences; bad behaviour was clearly a royal responsibility, and the king had agents whose duty it was to see that the royal responsibility was carried out.36 In Brittany in the ninth century, although the ruler would require aristocratic defaulters to answer for their behaviour at his own court-if, for example, they were accused of looting or burning in a locality-at village level the initiatives were local and non-royal. (In other words, it was the status of the person that involved the ruler, not the nature of the offence.) Accusations would be made and proceedings started by peasants acting as private, and often aggrieved, individuals; sureties, and occasionally machtiems, would pursue defaulters. There is one famous case in which it is made clear that the sureties were charged to pursue a persistent defaulter and kill him, should he offend again. Neither the ruler nor his agent had a part in these processes.37 In Wales, there is eleventh-century south-eastern material which makes it absolutely clear that in cases of theft it was the reponsibility of the local community to pursue the thief, like the later English 'hue and cry'. The law tracts suggest that it was the reponsibility of landowners, qua landowner, to apprehend suspects. A useful earlier text from the borders of Wales, the so-called 'Ordinance of the Dunsaete', goes some way towards combining the two approaches: when cattle are stolen, the men of the locality take up the trail, but when they cross the river bank it is then the landowner's responsibility to conduct an enquiry (or produce compensation himself). In none of these cases, however, 36 Barrow, Kingdom of Scots, pp. 67-8. NB 'mormaer', Annals of Ulster, s.a. 37

1032. Davies, 'Disputes'; eadem, Small Worlds, pp. 146-54. There is only one case evidenced of machtiern responsibility (Cart. Redon, no. 265), but this could well have been more common; for machtierns see Davies, Small Worlds, pp. 138-42.

Celtic Kingships


does any of this appear to have been a royal responsibility or interest.38 In Ireland it appears to have been a family responsibility to initiate action and arrest defaulters (sometimes with the assistance of their lord, if they had one). The family might distrain on the property of an alleged offender in order to provoke redress, with the assistance of professional lawyers.39 Once a settlement had been made the powers of sureties came into play. So, with respect to order, the Scottish king had responsibilities, where the Welsh and Irish did not; and the Breton ruler did, de facto, if the offender's status was high enough. When it came to making judgments about defaulters and about disputes, practice again varied. In Ireland, it was essentially lawyers-professionals, experienced in the law-who made the decisions, although the king might sometimes act as a lawyer and give judgments too and might also declare the lawyers' judgment in a court. 40 In strong contrast, in Brittany the business of making the actual judgment was usually carried out by panels of locals-people 38

Vita Cadoci, c. 69, in Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae, edited by Wade-Evans, at p. 136; 'Ordinance of the Dunsaete', in Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen, edited by F. Liebermann, 3 vols (Halle, 1903-16), I, 374-9. In the tenth and eleventh centuries some punishments for offences against the church were determined in synods, sometimes in a king's presence; it is possible that the king functioned as a guarantor in such cases; Davies, Wales, p. 138. 39 Kelly, Guide, pp. 177-86, 215-16. Already in the eighth century there were ideas about that the king should punish, but there is not much evidence that kings did so; Crith Gablach, c. 30; cf. 6 Corrain, 'Nationality and Kingship', p. 16. By virtue of their nobility, Irish nobles (including kings) had coercive powers and political authority (/laith); Crith Gablach, c. 23. See also my comments in Davies, 'Clerics as Rulers', in Latin and the Vernacular Languages in Early Medieval Britain, edited by N. P. Brooks (Leicester: 1982), pp. 81-97, at p. 90. 40 Kelly, Guide, pp. 51-6, 193-8; R. Sharpe,'Dispute Settlement in Medieval Ireland', in The Settlement of Disputes in Early Medieval Europe, edited by W. Davies and P. Fouracre (Cambridge, 1986), pp. 169-89, at pp. 182-7. NB: iudex for brithem in Ireland, perhaps emphasizing the judgment function of the lawyer; cf. Annals of Ulster, s.a. 802, etc. Cf. deemsters in the Isle of Man, whose primary function seems to have closely paralleled that of the brithem, i.e. knowing the (unwritten) law and making judgments in some circumstances; A. W. Moore, A History of the Isle of Man, 2 vols (London, 1900), II, 744-5, 75~7.


Wendy Davies

who knew the contestants and the circumstances-although aristocrats were likely to be judged by the ruler. 41 In Wales we know of groups of landowners making judgments in the ninth century, and groups of monks doing so in the eleventh century, and the (later) law texts suggest that landowners-non-professionals-did so in south Wales. 42 All we know in Scotland is that by the eleventh century a royal officer, the iudex, gave rulings on behalf of the king and had a prominent role in the administration of justice. 43 With respect to arriving at a judgment (rather than declaring it or assessing the penalty), the Scottish king again appears to have had a prominent role, through his agent; both the Breton and the Irish ruler could play a part in judgment, but characteristically it was the role of other people; as it also was in the Welsh case. Whether the king played a role or not, there is a fundamental difference between the judgment-byprofessionals system of the Irish and the judgment-by-locals system of the Bretons and Welsh. Lastly, the king's role in the conduct of business. In these societies transactions were made in public, in the presence of witnesses, so that they might be easily-and personally-verified. In Brittany this happened in village meetings, without any king or royal representative being present, and usually with the presence of a local hereditary 'transaction president', the machtiern. 44 In Wales this would happen in meetings of local elders, without a king unless one happened by chance to be there. 45 But in Scotland the king's repre41

W. Davies, 'People and Places in Dispute in Ninth-Century Brittany', in Settlement of Disputes, ed. Davies and Fouracre, pp. 65-84; eadem, Small Worlds, p. 150. 42 Davies, Wales, pp. 132-3; D. Jenkins and M. E. Owen, 'The Welsh Marginalia in the Lichfield Gospels'. parts 1-11,Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies, V ( 1983) and VII ( 1984), at II, 91-2; Vita Cadoci, c. 37, in Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae, edited by Wade-Evans, at p. 104; cf. the 'Ordinance of the Dunsaete ·, above, pp. 118-19 and n. 38. (The professional lawyer, famosissimus uir Bledcuirit, who features in a tenth-century charter, is not cited as making the judgment, but as articulating a point of principle about a breach of sanctuary: Book of Lian Dav, no. 218.) 43 Barrow, Kingdom of Scots, pp. 69-82. 44 Davies, Small Worlds, pp. 109-10, 134-8. 45 Davies, Wales, pp. 132--4, and Patterns of Power, pp. 27-8; the Welsh

Celtic Kingships


sentatives, the iudices, formally witnessed transactions and acted effectively as guarantors, in the king's name; we most frequently find them perambulating, and thereby determining, the boundaries of estates, and thereafter participating in the formal handover of the estate to another party (traditio); (in other words, they defined the property, which--once defined--could be handed over). 46 In Ireland business seems to have been done in the public assembly (oenach) of the tuath, necessarily in the presence of the king. Indeed, by the eleventh century the oenach could function as a political assembly, dominated by the king.47 Kings seem to have played a significant role as guarantors of business and transactions in both Scotland and Ireland, but did not normally do so in Wales and Brittany.

Conclusion Royal responsibility, then, looks as if it was more developed in Pictland/Scotland than elsewhere but royal responsibility differed widely from area to area, and some regions were similar in some respects, but different in others. Wales and Brittany had similar nonroyal institutions for doing business, but were quite different in approaches to law-making; in Ireland and Wales there were similar non-royal approaches to law-making but different ways of making judgments. Kings (or their agents) had significant roles in the conduct of public business in Ireland and Scotland but effectively none in apprehending defaulters in Ireland, as also in Wales. On the surface, the distribution of responsibility lacks coherence: Lawmaking


model I: Scotland model 2: Ireland, Wales model 3: Brittany

model I: Scotland model 2: a) Ireland b) Brittany model 3: Wales

eighth-century texts are especially notable.

46 Barrow, Kingdom of Scots, pp. 69-74. 4 7 Binchy, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon

Kingship, p. 19; Kelly, Guide, p. 4; Corrain, 'Nationality and Kingship', pp. 20-1.


Wendy Davies


Law and order

Public Business

model I: Scotland model 2: Brittany model 3: Wales, Ireland

model I: Ireland, Scotland model 2: Wales, Brittany

There is, however, a consistency to these patterns and a sense to be made of them. Where neither kings nor their representatives interacted, or scarcely interacted, with local communities at ground level (as in Wales and Brittany) they neither played a major part in public meetings nor in the regular business of making 'everyday' judgments. In other words, kings sat outside local rural communities, which essentially ran themselves. But where kings or their agents interacted with local communities (as in Ireland and Scotland) then they did tend to play a part both in public meetings and in making judgments. The strength of the king's role can be related to the differences of scale noted initially. There are three broad categories to be distinguished. Firstly, as one might expect, the king who was monarch, and the monarch who had a range of royal agents to execute his will (which was more so in Pictland/Scotland than elsewhere), tended to have more explicit functions and responsibilities, and more role in the regulation of society. 4 8 Secondly, the king who had kingly clients (the overking) tended to have fewer functions and responsibilities, and a smaller role in regulation; he did not systematically use his client kings as royal agents and as governmental machinery (although-pursuing the traditional Carolingian analogy-one might have expected him to do so). I stress this, in order to dispel the temptation to argue that, although Irish kingdoms were small, the overkings of Ireland really behaved like kings of larger kingdoms, using their subject kings as hierarchies of agents. However, thirdly, where royal functions were most limited was in those areas of relatively large kingdoms but a minimum of governmental machineryareas of larger kingdoms but few agents, like Wales and southern 48 Cf. Wormald, 'Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Kingship', pp.

on the power of the Pictish/Scottish monarchy.

169-70, for comments

Celtic Kingships


Scotland. In these cases the polity was too large for the machinery that existed and too large for the king to have much social function. The polity did not coincide with any cohesive society. But it is notable that the Irish rf still had political functions, even though he might be a client, had no (or few) officers, and ruled a tiny unit. He had to ensure plenty, peace and victory for the tuath; he had to protect it and lead the host; he had to guarantee fertility, good weather and good fortune; he had to ensure justice (in the broadest sense of the word) and maintain his own honour and status. The type of function that this king performed was different in quality from that which a king performed in a larger unit. The king of the small kingdom was part of an organic whole: here the polity was society. So, he moved about the tuath; was recognized by its members; was conscious of the membership. He was in some real sense their representative, as he was also both external-special-and internal, because part of the organic whole. His governmental function was limited but his representational function was strongly developed. The king of a larger unit, whether his regulatory role was significant or slight, had no such relationship with his populations; there the representative quality was notional rather than actual. There were, then, variations in the quality of kingly functions, as well as variations in the quantity of kingly function. Some kingships were moving towards governmental functions; some had social functions; some had a mixture; and some had very few functions at all.

*** If we look at the several, and various, manifestations of kingship in Celtic areas, whether through images or practice or institutions, we can make some general points of wider relevance. The size of a unit of kingship makes a difference to the type and quality of kingship both conceived and practised. Machinery, governmental machinery, can moderate the effects of increasing size, although in a pre-industrial society it tends to change the quality of the relationship between ruler and ruled. So much is scarcely controversial, or newsworthy. But what gives a system its individual character is not just size, or the presence or absence of governmental machinery, but the further vari-


Wendy Davies

ables of political relationships and the distribution of political functions. The relationship between king, or his agent, and people, is one aspect of the former; the relationship between the several powerholders-king, agents, clients-is another. The number of functions attributable to a ruler is one aspect of the latter and the distribution of those functions among the powerholders, if there be several, is yet another. Hence, the political systems of early medieval Ireland and Carolingian Francia may both depend upon complex patterns of dependence, but that does not make them identical systems. A political system which has a king who presides over transactions in person is a very different sort of system from one where this is done by royal officers, or alternatively by private individuals. A political system where law-making is done by the king, law enforcement by royal officers, and witnessing by a different set of royal officers is very different from one in which law is customary (but susceptible to royal influence), law enforcement is private, and witnessing royal. There were kings who were protectors and those who were rulers, those who were benefactors and those who were exploiters. Even within the narrow confines of the Celtic world in the early middle ages we find a range of systems and a range of types of king. I should like to think that an awareness of such variety on the western periphery will allow us a better understanding of the exercise and development of political function in mainstream medieval Europe. 49


Grateful thanks are due to Jinty Nelson and Andrew Lantry, for their extremely helpful comments on a draft of this paper.


Ever since Plato recommended rulers who were philosophers, many self-proclaimed philosophers (Cicero, for instance, or Rousseau) have wished they were rulers; but not many rulers have shown much inclination for philosophy or indeed for theory of any sort. Those rulers who have tried their hands at it (James I; Mussolini) have been treated in rather patronizing terms by professional theorists in their own time and after. Usually, rulers have been happy to leave political theory to scholars-and confined their own interests to political practice. The ninth century, therefore, attracts attention as a rather extraordinary period: then, there actually were kings who were said to be lovers of wisdom, self-consciously following what they knew Plato had preached; 1 then, according to J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, 'learned kings, or at least kings who were patrons of learning, [were] the rule rather than the exception' .2 The 'at least', however, represents quite a large concession: for patronage, and practice itself, are two different things. 1


See H. H. Anton, Furstenspeigel und Herrscherethos in der Karolingerzeit (Bonn, 1968), pp. 98 (noting that Alcuin quoted 'the Platonic saying' to Charlemagne by way of Prudentius and Boethius), and 247, 255-7 (for similar echoes in works addressed to Louis the German and Charles the Bald). See further P. Godman, Poets and Emperors (Oxford, 1987), p. 136. I should like to thank my colleagues Janet Bately and Anne Duggan for moral support and editorial patience. Early Germanic Kingship in England and on the Continent (Oxford, I 971 ), p. 129.


Janet L. Nelson

Charlemagne and several of his ninth-century successors patronized a renaissance of sorts, and their learned proteges copied out classical works, but also wrote new ones, in a range of genres, for an audience that included laity as well as ecclesiastics. This renaissance, if much narrower, in content and social range, than the later medieval one, not only hoarded but sowed.3 Yet scarcely a single workscarcely more than a couple of letters, perhaps 4--can be credited to the authorship of a single Carolingian. We need to move far on in the Middle Ages to find occasional instances of Continental kings who can plausibly be credited with any literary output, let alone the literary expression of political ideas of their own. 5 This last point may strike some readers as redundant: for modern commentators have failed to find much in the way of political ideas in the earlier Middle Ages at all. Systematic treatises on political themes are almost nonexistent. What there are, in the ninth-century Carolingian world, are mirrors of princes, works of moral guidance for individual rulers; and liturgical texts, notably king-making rites, all of them written by clergy who naturally emphasize religious duties and ecclesiastical authority. 6 Before the twelfth-century rediscovery of Roman Law, so 3




Pace Jacques Le Goff, Les intel/ectuels au moyen age (Paris, 1969), p. 14: a stimulating but overly harsh judgment from the perspective of the central Middle Ages. The scope of the Carolingian Renaissance's achievement can be gauged in three recent books: R. McK.itterick, The Carolingians and the Written Word (Cambridge, 1989); L. Nees, A Tainted Mantle. Hercules and the Classical Tradition at the Carolingian Court (Philadelphia, 1991); and D. Bullough, Carolingian Renewal. Sources and Heritage (Manchester, 1991). If Charles the Bald himself, rather than Hincmar of Reims, can be credited with the authorship of two royal letters to Pope Hadrian II: see below, n. 49. For Louis IX of France, whose ideas have to be reconstructed from anecdotal and other indirect evidence, see the papers of J. Le Goff and M. Kauffmann in the present volume. Interestingly, Queen Elizabeth I (like Alfred) found inspiration in Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy and translated it into English; but much of the evidence for her political thought is second-hand. The best study in English remains J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, 'The via regia of the Carolingian Age', in Trends in Medieval Political Though, edited by B. Smalley, (Oxford, 1965), pp. 22-41. See further Anton, Fiirstenspiegel; and J. L. Nelson, 'Kingship and Empire', in The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought, edited by J. H. Bums (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 211-5 l, at

The Political Ideas of Alfred of Wessex


runs a textbook argument, would-be theorists lacked the vocabulary and the concepts of properly political discourse. Hence, allegedly, ninth-century texts contain no concept of the state as an apparatus of institutions and public resources persisting through time, no notion of legislative sovereignty, or indeed of legislation. Instead, it's argued, there is the idea of an association of men bonded together by personal obligations to a common lord-a Herrschaftsverband.7 It's been inferred, further, that such thinking about power in entirely personal terms both resulted from and strengthened the dominance of the Church over the ideology and the actual workings of early medieval kingdoms: Walter Ullmann wrote of the 'stunted sovereignty' of ninth-century Carolingians. 8 Finally, the personalizing of the political has often been linked with the privatization of power, notably in the treatment of the kingdom as a family possession to be divided between heirs. 9 (The consequences of ninth-century Carolingian divisions persisted: western Europe has repeatedly split along fault-lines created arbitrarily by a fraternal share-out in 843.) Hence royal lordship, caught between church and dynasty, was not--could not beconceptualized in properly political terms. These arguments are persuasive: there is no disputing the centrality of personal bonds to early medieval political thinking. What can be disputed, however, is the claim that the idea of public authority, of the state, was unknown, indeed unthinkable, in the ninth century. Alongside, uncomfortably jostling, private and personal ties and obligations were public demands and duties, self-consciously affirmed by rulers who cast themselves as heirs to Constantine and Theodosius. The Carolingians and

218-21. So, J. Fried, 'Der karolingische Herrschaftsverband im 9. Jhdt.', Historische Zeitschrift, CCXXXV (1982), 1-43; cf. now the comments of G. Althoff, Verwandte, Freunde und Getreue. Zurn politischen Stellenwert der Gruppenbindungen imfruuheren Mittelalter (Darmstadt, 1990), pp. 5-9. 8 The Carolingian Renaissance and the Idea of Kingship. The Birkbeck Lectures 1968-9 (London, 1969), Lecture V. 9 F. L. Ganshof, The Carolingians and the Frankish Monarchy (London, 1971), p. 247. For a different view, see Nelson, 'Kingship and Empire', p. 224. 7


Janet L Nelson

their advisers were under the spell of Christian Antiquity .1o Was Alfred immune? His Laws were a gathering-together, and a writing-down, of 'the ones that our forefathers observed .... For I did not presume to set down in writing at all many of my own ... ' 11 This king seems the very epitome of Fritz Kem' s guardian of the Good Old Law, barely claiming the power to legislate. 12 Yet, in the very same passage, there breathes a more assertive royalty: Alfred has selected from custom 'what pleased me, and rejected the others'. Further, in the Laws that follow, Alfred uses such expressions as 'we establish', 'we command', 'we declare'. 13 In other words, he makes new law even as he inscribes parts of the old. And among the new is a law of treason: for plotting against the king's life, a man is to be henceforth 'liable for his life and all that he possesses' . 14 This, Alfred may have borrowed from the Carolingians. 15 But behind both him and them were late Roman models. 16 And behind Alfred, mediating those models, enabling him to situate himself in an insular legislative tradition, was earlier AngloSaxon practice. Military obligations (to serve in the army of defence, to contribute to guarding frontiers, and to bridge-building) required by eighth-century kings in Mercia and Kent, and rather belatedly by 10 Nelson, 'Translating images of authority: the Christian Roman emperors in

the Carolingian world', in Images of Authority. Papers presented to Joyce Reynolds on the occasion of her 70th birthday, edited by M. M. Mackenzie and C. Roueche (Cambridge, 1989), pp. 194-205. 11 Quoted from the translation of the preface by S. Keynes and M. Lapidge, Alfred the Great. Asser's Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources (Harmondsworth, 1983), p. 164. 12 F. Kem, Kingship and Law, English translation by S. B. Chrimes (Oxford, 1939), pp. 70-3. 13 Cc. 34, 36, 41, 42. 14 Laws, c. [4] 5, Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 165. l5 The argument will be forcefully put by Patrick Wormald in his forthcoming book on Anglo-Saxon lawmaking. I am very grateful to him for discussions on this subject, and for kindly allowing me to see parts of his book in advance of publication. 16 Wormald, 'Lex scripta and verbum regis. legislation and Germanic kingship from Euric to Cnut', in Early Medieval Kingship, edited by P. Sawyer and I. Wood (Leeds, 1977), pp. 105-38.

The Political Ideas of Alfred of Wessex


West Saxon kings from the 850s on. were directly modelled, as Nicholas Brooks pointed out over twenty years ago, on the public services, the munera sordida, of the Theodosian Code. 17(What was 'rediscovered' in the twelfth century, incidentally, was Justinian's Code, whose fifth-century predecessor, though only patchily and selectively applied, was never lost in the earlier Middle Ages.)18 But to the duties specified in Roman models, Anglo-Saxon kings added the obligation to perform burh-work, that is, to contribute to fortifying, and garrisoning, centres of settlement and/or refuge. When the Carolingian Charles the Bald (re)imposed services for the patria in 864, he acknowledged the inspiration not only of antiquity but also, and specifically in the context of civitas-fortification, of 'other peoples' (aliae gentes)-a clear reference to those across the Channel.19 Undeniably here is the concept of public services for the state: AngloSaxon kings, in requiring these, acted as imitators of Roman Christian Emperors, but, in the form of burh-work, added something new. As a child, Alfred had been taken to Rome; seen the newly built walls around St. Peter' s. He had visited the court of Charles the Bald; seen his Carolingian stepmother crowned queen of the West Saxons by the archbishop of Reims. To ideas gleaned from youthful experience, he applied the hard-won knowledge of the mature student and the autodidact. The boy who learned Saxon songs by heart grew up to become aware of the limitations of memory, to become convinced of the value, and cultural prestige, of having things in writing.20 Reared 17

Brooks, 'The Development of Military Obligations in Eighth- and NinthCentury England', in England before the Conquest. Studies in Primary Sources presented to Dorothy Whitelock, edited by P. Clemoes and K. Hughes (Cambridge, 1971), pp. 69-84. See also E. John, Land Tenure in Early England (Leicester, 1964). 18 See The Theodosian Code, edited by I. Wood and J. Harries (forthcoming 1993). 19 MGH Capitularia, II, no. 273, c. 27, pp. 321-2. Cf. Nelson, 'Translating images of authority', p. 197; and eadem, 'The Franks and the English in the ninth century revisited', in The Preservation and Transmission of AngloSaxon Culture, edited by J. Rosenthal and P. Szannach (Binghampton, N.Y., 1993), forthcoming. 20 Alfred's version of Augustine's Soliloquies, translated by Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 139.


Janet L. Nelson

in the values of a warrior elite, Alfred had also read vernacular books of private prayer, had internalized Christian teachings on sexual guilt and self-censorship. Struck down by agonizing pain, in public, at his own wedding-feast, 21 Alfred came to interpret suffering as a heavensent discipline. Like his Continental contemporaries the Emperor Charles the Fat and Count Gerald of Aurillac, 22 Alfred found it hard to reconcile the demands of high status in the secular world with the otherworldly criteria offered by spiritual guides who had so often worked in a monastic milieu. Alfred learned eventually to effect a reconciliation of his own, despite the problems he evidently confronted in his own sexuality, and despite a military record which could suggest a reluctance to get personally involved in the violence of hand-to-hand fighting. In the Gesta Karoli written c. 885, Notker reminded Charles the Fat that the res publica terrena 'cannot continue without marriage and the use of weapons' .23 Alfred understood this-perhaps warned by the fate of Charles the Fat which the AngloSaxon Chronicle, exceptionally well-informed ('he was deprived of the realm [rice] six weeks before his death [in January 888]'), implicitly attributes to his failure to prevent the Danes from 'moving about that realm at will'. The consequence was 'the dividing of that realm into five'-and of the four who divided Gaul and Italy 'not one of them was born to the realm on his father's side' _24 In 888, these 21 Asser, Life of Alfred, c. 74, edited by W. H. Stevenson (Oxford, 1904), pp.

54-5, trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, pp. 88-9. 22 See Nelson, •A Tale of Two Princes: politics, text and ideology in a Carolingian annal', Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, X (l 988), 105-41,

at p. 132. 23 Notker, Gesta Karo/i, ii. 10, edited by Hans F. Haefele, MGH SRG, NS, XII (Berlin, 1959), 66. 24 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle [hereafter ASC] 887, translated by G. N. Garmonsway (London, 1953), p. 80. Compare the treatment of these events in the Annals of Fulda, translated by T. Reuter (Manchester, 1992), p. 103 (MS 2 continuation), 114 (Bavarian continuation); Regino of Prilm, Chronicon, edited by F. Kurze, MGH SRG, L (Hanover, 1890), 129-30; Anna/es Vedastini, edited by B. von Simson, MGH SRG, XII (Hanover, 1909), 64-5. The emphasis on patrilineal descent is the ASC's own. Cf. a similar emphasis in King Alfred's Will, stating a preference that his personal lands 'should pass to the child in the male [rather than female] line': Keynes and Lapidge,

The Political Ideas of Alfred of Wessex


events posed questions for the Franks: who should rule? how indispensable was royal blood? what was rulership for? what were the sanctions against misrule? The ASCs coverage suggests that such questions were asked insistently in England too: plentiful supplies of information were passing across the Channel at precisely this time (and the same Danish ship-warriors were active on both sides of the Channel). In 886, Alfred asked the archbishop of Reims to send him the scholar Grimbald of St-Bertin 'to superintend the administration of pastoral care': Alfred, significantly, already knew all about Grimbald and his specific talents-which of course suggests a whole prehistory of contacts.25 Envoys from Alfred's kingdom passed through Francia, and could hardly have avoided going near if not via both StBertin and Reims, en route to Rome, in 883 or 884, and every year from 887 to 890. 26 There were ample opportunities here for the transmission back to Alfred's court of news, views, and food for thought.27 Alfred's thoughts were not simply taken over, ready-made, from the Franks, however. Dynasticism-the sense that royal power should be transmitted in a royal line-was something Alfred and the Carolingians shared: hence a common interest in genealogies; 28 hence the ASC' s comment on Charles the Fat cited above, and hence its pointed reference under 867 to an ungecyndne cyning-a king Alfred, p. 178.

25 The contents of Alfred's letter are rehearsed in the archbishop's reply: Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 185.

26 ASC 885 (referring to an earlier embassy), 887, 888, 889, 890, pp. 80-1. 27 For infonnation on Scandinavian movements on the Continent in ASC 880-7 and 890-2 as an indication of high-level military intelligence, see R. H. C. Davis, 'Alfred the Great: propaganda and truth', History, LVI (1971), 16982, at p. 174. 28 Two full West Saxon royal genealogies are incorporated in the ASC, preface, and 855, pp. 2, 66; and Asser, c. I, pp. 2-4 gives another version: see D. Dumville, 'The West Saxon genealogical regnal list and the chronology of early Wessex', Peritia, IV ( 1985), 21-66, and more generally Dumville, 'Kingship, Genealogies and Regnal Lists', in Sawyer and Wood, Early Medieval Kingship, pp. 72-104. For Carolingian genealogies, see K.-U. Jaschke, 'Die karolingergenealogien aus Metz', Rheinische Vierteljahrsbliitter XXXIV ( 1970), 190-218.


Janet L. Nelson

who was 'not kinned' to his predecessors.2 9 But dynasticism had autochthonous roots in Anglo-Saxon kingdoms: Alfred did not have to borrow it from the Carolingians. Further, the idea of the kingdom as territory also flourished independently in England and on the Continent. It is equally clear in the detailed boundaries of the Treaty of Meersen between Charles the Bald and Louis the German in 870,30 and in 886n, in the no less explicitly defined boundary delineated in Alfred's Treaty with the Danish king Guthrum.3 1 The notion of the realm as a territory appears in the ASC for 878, when the Dant,;s promised 'to leave Alfred's realm [rice] without delay'.3 2 But other features differentiate Alfred's kingship from that of Continental contemporaries. The original empire of Charlemagne had been very much a Frankish affair: Frankish aggression created it, Frankish dominance maintained it. Charlemagne titled himself rex Francorum, Gallias, Germaniam, Italiamque sive harum finitimas provintias ... regens. 33 To the hitherto pagan conquered Saxons, Christianity, for all its potential to transcend gentile difference, was at first the ritus dominorum. 34 It was not Frankish, however, but Latin which Charlemagne promoted as the empire's common language; and the 'barbarous and most ancient songs in which used to be sung the deeds and wars of the kings of old', and which Charlemagne caused to be written down and preserved, were probably in Latin.35 Ed. Bately, p. 47, trans. Gannonsway, p. 68. 30 Annals of St-Bertin, translated by J. L. Nelson (Manchester, 1991), pp. 168-9. 3I Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, pp. 171-2, whose dating I still prefer to that suggested by D. Dumville, 'The Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum', in his Wessex and England from Alfred to Edgar: Six Essays on Political, Cultural, and Ecclesiastical Revival (Woodbridge, 1992), pp. 1-27. 32 ASC. p. 76. 33 In the preface to the Libri Carolini, edited by F. Bastgen, MGH Concilia, II, Supplement (Hanover, 1924), 1: 'Charles king of the Franks, ruling the Gauls, Germany and Italy and also the provinces that border them'. 34 Hrabanus Maurus, Liber de Oblatione Puerorum, in PL, CVII, col. 432. Hrabanus continues: 'or rather, [the Franks] by fatherly love converted [the Saxons] to the Christian faith'. 35 Einhard, Vita Karoli Magni, c. 29, edited by 0. Holder-Egger, MGH SRG, XXV (Hanover, 1911), 33: barbara et antiquissima carmina, translated by L. Thorpe, Two Lives of Charlemagne (Harmondsworth, 1969), p. 82. For a convincing rebuttal of the notion that the carmina were in the Germanic 29

The Political Ideas of Alfred of Wessex


Louis the Pious was committed to an ideal of rulership over 'the Christian people', and, while spurning the ancient songs, spoke Latin as if it had been his native tongue.36 Superimposed cultural unity was never intended to forestall political dis-unity. Louis's successors, the Carolingians who were Alfred's contemporaries, were heirs to a divided regnum.3 7 None could claim 'kingship of the Franks', for each ruled over only some of the Franks. At the same time, each ruled a population of more than one people [gens, gentes], hence each new realm was a multi-gentile entity. From 840 onwards, each Carolingian king called himself simply rex.38 In 887, Amulf, the illegitimate nephew of Charles the Fat, seized the kingship of the East Franks. What modem historians recognise as a key event in the formation of Germany was seen in Alfred's entourage as reviving and perpetuating a kind of imperial unity: according to Asser, notwithstanding the multiple consecrations of 888, 'imperium remained in Amulf s hands' ,39and the ASC, unlike any Continental annalist,





vernacular, see D. Geuenich, 'Die volkssprachige Oberiieferung der Karolingerzeit aus der Sicht des Historikers', Deutsches Archiv, XXXIX (1983), I04-31, at pp. 113-5. For Latin in the Carolingian Empire, see J. L. Nelson, 'Literacy in Carolingian Government', in The Uses of Literacy in Early Medieval Europe, edited by Rosmund McKitterick (Cambridge, 1990), pp. 264-72. Thegan, Vita Hludowici imperatoris, c. 19, edited by G. Pertz, MGH SS, II (Berlin, 1829), 594. W. Schlesinger, 'Die Auflosung des Karlsreiches', in Karl der Grosse. Lebenswerk und Nachleben, C?~itedby W. Braunfels, 5 vols (Dtisseldorf, 19658), I, 792-857; E. Ewig, 'Uberlegungen zu den Merowingischen und Karolingischen Teilungen', Settimane di Studio del Centro Italiano di Studi sull'Alto Medioevo, XXVII(1981), I, 225-53. P. E. Schramm, Kaiser, Konige und Papste, 4 vols (Stuttgart, 1968), II, 82-7 (also noting the rare exceptions). As emperors, Charles the Bald and Charles the Fat used seals with inscriptions referring to the restoration of an imperium Francorum: ibid., pp. 84, 294. Asser, Life, c. 85, p. 72: imperium penes Eamulf remansit, trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 98 (translating imperium 'overall authority'), with comments at 267, rightly noting that Asser's remarks are 'derived, but also developed, from ASC'. Cf. ASC 'A' 887, edited by J. M. Bately, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. A Collaborative Edition. 3: MS A (Cambridge, 1986), p. 53: 'hi [i.e. the other four kings] cuedon thaet hie thaet [i.e. each kingdom] to his honda healdan sceoldon', literally, 'they declared that they should hold it at his hands'; cf. trans. Garmonsway, p. 80.


Janet L. Nelson

underlines the multi-gentile character of the force that Arnulf led to victory over the Danes in 891: 'with the East Franks and the Saxons and the Bavarians ... [he] put them to flight' .40 For Alfred, Amulf s East Frankish kingdom must have held particular interest because here, alone among the Carolingian successor-kingdoms, a written tradition in the Germanic vernacular had been created, and flourished, since the reign of Louis the German (840-876).41 Alfred's royal title always has a gentile identification-in earlier charters rex Saxonum, later rex Anglo-Saxonum. 42 Rooted in a realm of the West Saxons which, by the ninth century anyway, was not divisible, Alfred's kingship had acquired by the mid-880s a wider dimension, had become 'imperial', through the acquisition of the realm of the Angles (Mercians) alongside that of the Saxons.4 3 References to 'all Englishkind' (Angelcyn) in the ASC for 886, in the introductory section to his Laws, and in the preface to the Old English Pastoral Care, suggest that Alfred's aim was to reinforce West

40 ASC 891, trans. Garmonsway, p. 82. Cf. Annales Vedastini, 891, p. 70; Re-

gino, Chronicon, p. 137; and Annals of Fulda, trans. Reuter, p. 121, which insists that only Franks were involved in the victory. 41 Wallace-Hadrill, The Fra1J.kishChurch (Oxford, 1983), pp. 377-89; Geuenich, 'Die volkssprachige Uberlieferung'. And see below, p. 135. 42 Rex Saxonum, the usual title of eighth-century West Saxon kings, A. Scharer, 'Die lntitulationes der angelsaschsichen Konige im 7. und 8. Jahrhundert', in lntitulatio, edited by H. Wolfram and A. Scharer, III (Vienna/Cologne/Graz, 1988), 9- 74, at pp. 72-3, is the title used by Alfred in the following charters, cited from P. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters. An Annotated List and Bibliography (London, 1968) [hereafter Sawyer]: Sawyer, nos 321 (dated 880), 345 (882), and 350 (898), the last case perhaps explicable in terms of some Joss of control during Alfred's very last years (see below, n. 45). Alfred has the title rex Anglorum et Saxonum (or the like) in Sawyer, nos 346 (889), 347 (891), 348 (892) and three undated charters (Sawyer, nos 354, 355, 356) very probably of the period c. 886-c. 896. 43 Cf. the comment in the Annals of Fulda, 869, p. 61 (and n. 11), on Charles the Bald's acquisition of (part of) Lothar II's kingdom: '[he] ordered that he should be called emperor and augustus as one who was to possess two kingdoms'.

The Political Ideas of Alfred of Wessex


Saxon-Mercian unity;44 and that policy can perhaps be read, too, in the insertion in a royal consecration-prayer, imported from Francia arguably in the 890s, of references to 'the realm of the Angles and Saxons' and to 'establishing unitedly the apex of paternal glory' .4 5 In fostering a united kingdom, Alfred could draw on a learned, written, tradition. Pope Gregory the Great in the 590s had mistakenly assumed that the oneness of Britannia persisted, under the management of Angli, to whose king he directed his Roman missionaries. (Gregory was known to Alfred's contemporaries as the apostle of the English). Bede used Gregory's letters to construct the idea of a single English people, with a Church to match. 4 6 From Bede's further notion of rulers wielding extensive imperium within the area that had once been Britannia, the learned men of Alfred's generation constructed a fully-fledged English (Anglo-Saxon) kingship borne in the ninth century by Alfred's dynasty. 47 There was also cultural substance, in another, oral and poetic, tradition, to the invented English community. Saxon songs could be understood by the Saxons' neighbours: Alfred, brought up to memorize Saxon songs, was keen to teach them to the Angles (and others) assembled at his court. Saxon songs in the genres of epic or proverbs purveyed the socially-





ASC 886, p. 80; Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, pp. 163-4 (Laws), and 124-5 (Pastoral Care). Nelson, 'The Second English Ordo', in Politics and Ritual (London, 1986), p. 365. If political pressures in the late 890s forced Alfred not only to set up a separate sub-kingdom of Kent for his eldest son but to relinquish some control of Mercian lands (see Nelson, 'Reconstructing a royal family', pp. 63-4 ), this would reflect later circumstances, perhaps unforeseen, certainly unwished, by Alfred c. 890. P. Wormald, 'Bede, the Bretwaldas and the origins of the gens Anglorum', in Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society, edited by P. Wormald (Oxford, 1983), pp. 99-129: a fundamental study. The same year saw the publication of the thought-provoking book of Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London, 1983), who unfortunately ignores medieval antecedents. Wormald, 'Bede, the Bretwaldas and the origins', pp. 103-7, 120-1. In understanding the ASC thus, I have profited from conversations with David Howlett.


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conservative virtues of lordship and order, loyalty and fortitude.48 New songs could be composed in that vein and invested with wider 'English' appeal. Beowulf is conceivably a case in point, with its appreciation of Angles and of Scandinavians too.49 So, certainly, are the so-called Lays of Boethius: Alfred's verse-rendering of the versesections of Boethius' Consolation of The Lays open with an introductory section which is apparently Alfred's own composition: In those days a leader A high-born chieftain A man most righteous A giver of treasure wise toward this world learned in booklore: That this hero had

in Rome was living cherishing his lord ... He was 'mid the Romans glorious ever wishful of honour Boethius the name was that so highly was famed ... 51

This Boethius would be at home in Beowulf s world. The audience whom Alfred aimed to reach was one of Old English speakers, 48 T. Shippey, Poems of Wisdom and Learning in Old English (Cambridge, 1976). esp. pp. 18-9; Nelson, 'Wealth and Wisdom. The Politics of Alfred the Great', in Kings and Kingship, edited by J. Rosenthal, State University of New York Acta, 11 (New York. 1986 [for 1984)), pp. 31-52, at 44-5. See further, D. Bullough, 'The educational tradition in England from Alfred to JElfric: teaching utriusque linguae'. Settimane di Studio del Centro Italiano di Studi sull'Alto Medioevo, XIX (1972), 453-94, now reprinted in his collected essays, Carolingian Renewal, pp. 297-334; and P. Wormald, 'The uses of literacy in Anglo-Saxon England'. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, XXVII (1977}, 95-114. 49 Cf. Nelson, 'Reconstructing a royal family', pp. 51-2. 50 For the alternating verse- and prose-sections, see Godman, Poets and Emperors, pp. 160-1. For the authenticity of Alfred's verse-version of Boethius's Metres, see K. Sisam, Studies in the History of Old English Literature (Oxford, 1953), pp. 293-7. 51 Translated by W. J. Sedgefield, King Alfred's Version of the Consolations of Boethius. Done into Modern English, with an Introduction (Oxford, 1900}, p. 179, from King Alfred's Old English Version of Boethius de Consolatione Philosophiae, edited by Sedgefield (Oxford, 1899), p. 153.

The Political Ideas of Alfred of Wessex


already well-attuned to the metre and the message of Saxon songs. In transposing Boethius into a vernacular key, Alfred had already effected a transformation of function as well as form. It is in such vernacular literature, and in Alfredian contributions to it, that I propose to look for Alfred's political ideas. Which extant texts can be called Alfredian? That term has been used in two senses: broadly, to cover works associated with royal patronage emanating from the king's entourage, hence including the first and second blocks of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Old English version of Orosius's Histories, and even Asser's Life of Alfred; narrowly, to denote works attributable to Alfred's own authorship. There are problems of definition here. We know, for instance, that Alcuin contributed substantially to the writing of 'Charlemagne's Admonitio genera/is' .52 Early medieval kings, like modern leaders, had their speech-writers and their ghost-writers. Hincmar wrote letters for Charles the Bald. Nevertheless Charles at least occasionally was responsible for his own correspondence.5 3 And there are several reasons for believing that in Alfred's case-exceptionally-the king was indeed involved in the production of some substantial texts, the socalled Alfredian translations, made with the help of a scholarly team, but with a personal, authorial, input of the king's own.54 In identifying 'Alfred's work', we need to be clear that translation entailed substantial interpolation: that is, the addition of sometimes lengthy passages amplifying or explicating the original, as Alfred put it, 'sense for sense' .55 Four 'translations' produced during Alfred's 52 The extent of Alcuin's contribution is debated; but that it was considerable is




convincingly argued by F. C. Scheibe, •Alcuin und die Admonitio genera/is', Deutsches Archiv, XIV (1958), pp. 221-9, reinforced by Bullough, Carolingian Renewal, p. 218, n. 46. Nelson, '"Not bishops' bailiffs but lords of the earth": Charles the Bald and the problem of sovereignty', in The Church and Sovereigt1ty. Essays in Honour of Michael Wilks, edited by D. Wood (Oxford, 1991), pp. 23-34. For this, and for what follows, see J. M. Bately, The Literary Prose of King Alfred's Reign: Translation or Transformation?, Inaugural Lecture, King's College, London, 1980. D. Whitelock, 'The Prose of Alfred's Reign', in Continuations and Beginnings. Studies in Old English Literature, edited by E. G. Stanley (London,


Janet L. Nelson

reign show traits of style and vocabulary which suggest, so experts tell us, a single, distinctive, authorial voice: the Pastoral Care of Gregory, the Soliloquies of Augustine, the Consolation of Philosophy of Boethius in both prose and verse versions, the first Fifty Psalms.56 Three of the chosen items reflect specifically royal interests: Gregory could be seen as having written for rectores secular as well as spiritual;57 the Boethius underlines the risks and responsibilities of high office;58 and the Psalmist, David, was a frequently-chosen royal rolemodel for early medieval kings, not least Alfred's own contemporary Charles the Bald (both, like David, were youngest sons, and both, like David, had a long haul en route to power).59 Further, of those translations, three themselves declare Alfred's input. In the preface to the Pastoral Care, Alfred says: 'I translated it ... as I learnt it from Plegmund, Asser, Grimbald and John '-referring to his four scholarassistants. 60 The last sentence of the Augustine reads: 'Here end the sayings which King Alfred himself selected' .61The Boethius preface 1966), pp. 67-103, at pp. 79-80; and Bately, Literary Prose, esp. pp. 12-15.

56 Whitelock, 'The Prose of Alfred's Reign'. esp. pp. 71, 79, 83, 94. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, pp. 28-32, offer a succinct survey. For the Old English version of the Psalms, see P. O'Neill, 'Old English Introductions to the Prose Psalms of the Paris Psalter: sources, structure and composition', in Eight Anglo-Saxon Studies, edited by J. S. Wittig (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1981), pp. 2(}... 38; and J. M. Bately, 'Lexical evidence for the authorship of the Prose Psalms in the Paris Psalter', Anglo-Saxon England, X ( 1982), 69-95. For the cultural context, see J. M. Bately, '"Those books that are most necessary for all men to know": the Classics and late ninth-century England, a reappraisal', in The Classics in the Middle Ages, edited by A. S. Bernardo and S. Levin (Binghampton, N.Y., 1990), pp. 45-78; and cf. Bullough, Carolingian Renewal, pp. 299-300. 57 Wallace-Hadrill, Early Germanic Kingship, pp. 143-5; R. Markus, 'Gregory the Great's rector and his genesis', in Gregoire le Grand, Colloques intemationaux du CNRS (Paris, 1986), pp. 137-46. 58 See below, p. 141. 59 See Nelson, Charles the Bald (London, 1992), pp. 15, 85. 60 Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 126. 61 Ibid., p. 152. Though this translation survives in a single mid-twelfth-century MS in which the beginning of the preface is lost, Whitelock, 'The Prose of Alfred's Reign', p. 71, takes the last sentence as showing that 'this work is certainly Alfred's', and supports this with 'internal evidence of style'. See

The Political Ideas of Alfred of Wessex


states: 'King Alfred was the translator of this book' .62Manuscripts of two of the four take us back to, or very nearly to, Alfred's own time.63 A century after Alfred's death, tElfric, homilist and translator of Scripture and saints' lives into the vernacular for lay aristocrats as well as ecclesiastics, saw himself as carrying on a project Alfred had begun: that [unlearned men] did not know or possess the evangelical teaching among their books ... except from the books which King Alfred wisely translated from Latin into English, which are still obtainable. 64

The survival of the Old English Pastoral Care in six manuscripts65 suggests the multiplication and distribution of copies explicitly called for in the verse preface ('King Alfred commanded his scribes to produce more copies from the exemplar so that he could send them to his bishops'66), while the prose preface says that this, the Pastoral Care, is one of 'certain books which are the most necessary for all men to know' _67The preface to the Boethius translation foresees a similar diffusion ('He [King Alfred] beseeches ... each of those whom it pleases to read this book, to pray for him'6 8). And Alfred's biographer Asser seems to hint at this when in c. 106 he now E. G. Stanley, 'King Alfred's Prefaces·. Review of English Studies, XXXIX ( 1988), pp. 349-64. 62 Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 131. See further M. Godden, 'King Alfred's Boethius', in Boethius: his Life, Thought and Influence, edited by M. Gibson( Oxford, 1981), pp. 419-24. 63 London, British Library, Cotton Tiberius B.xi (see Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 293) and Oxford, Bodleian, Hatton 20, are MSS of the Pastoral Care probably written in Alfred's lifetime; London, British Library, Cotton Otho A. vi, is a tenth-century MS of the Boethius. 64 D. Whitelock, English Historical Documents, vol. I, 2nd edn (London, 1979), p. 239. 65 In addition to the two just mentioned, there are London, BL, Otho B.ii; Cambridge, University Library, Ii.2.4; Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 12; and Cambridge, Trinity College, R.5.22. 66 Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 127. 67 Ibid, p. 126. 68 Ibid, pp. 131-2.


Janet L. Nelson

refers to the libri Saxonici (distinct from the orally-transmitted and memorized carmina Saxonica also referred to in other chapters)69 which Alfred prescribed for ealdormen, reeves and thegns to read. Lastly there are two other works, both very closely associated with Alfred, for which the manuscript tradition is similarly widely diffused: namely, the ASC and Alfred's Laws. It seems impossible to deny Alfred's personal role in getting these vernacular works copied and distributed-and perhaps a little perverse to question Alfred's stimulus to their production too.7° If Alfred did not write the Old English translations of the Pastoral Care, the Boethius, the Augustine and the Psalms (as well as patronizing other works including the ASC), then we should have to invent an author (and patron) just like Alfred. Now, for an early medieval ruler, activity as an author is an astonishing fact, almost unprecedented-and unparalleled for centuries to come. Yet in our resolutely historical quest (shutting our ears to Derrida-esque claims of authorial demise) for Alfred as author, as well as publicizer, of political ideas, we must beware of anachronism. What is fundamental may not be most distinctive, let alone self-consciously 69 Asser, life, c. 106, p. 94, trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 110: 'books in English'; for carmina, cc. 23, 75. 76, pp. 20, 59, trans. Keynes and Lapidge, pp. 75, 91. 70 Whitelock, 'The Prose of Alfred's Reign', pp. 95-7, acknowledges Alfred's authorship of the Laws, yet is reluctant to accept his responsibility for the ASC's compilation, chiefly on the grounds that the 853 annal includes 'the strange belief that Alfred's consular investment by Pope Leo IV was a royal consecration. See also Whitelock, English Historical Documents, l, 123-4. On this point, Whitelock follows F. M. Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England, 2nd edn (Oxford, 1947), pp. 269, n. 2, and 683; and is in tum followed by Bately, 'The compilation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 60 B.C. to A.O. 890: Vocabulary as evidence', Proceedings of the British Academy, LXIV (1980 for 1978), 93-129, at p. 128. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, pp. 40, 217-8, 278-9, incline to a similar view, but rightly distinguish between compilation and diffusion, though without explicitly stating that Alfred 'published' the ASC. For a different interpretation of the 853 annal, see Nelson, 'The Franks and the English in the ninth century revisited', in The Preservation and Transmission of Anglo-Saxon Culture, edited by J. Rosenthal and P. Szarmach, forthcoming. I hope to return shortly to the question of the ASC's origins.

The Political Ideas of Alfred of Wessex


new. Indeed the choice of medium-translations and interpolationskeeps us firmly within a matrix of authoritative texts. Take the single best-known political idea with which Alfred has been credited: that of the three orders, which appears in Alfred's version of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy. Here is a passage translated from Boethius' s Latin: Then I [Boethius] said that she [Philosophy] was well aware of how little I had been governed by worldly ambition. I had sought the means of engaging in politics so that virtue should not grow old unpraised .... Philosophy replied: The desire for glory, the thought of fame, is the one thing that could entice minds ... not yet perfected with the finishing touch of complete virtue ... But how unimportant such fame is.7 1

In his version of this passage, Alfred interpolates between the initial statement and the reply the following gloss on 'means of engaging in politics': In the case of the king, the resources and tools with which to rule are that he have his land fully manned: he must have praying men, fighting men and working men ... [and] he must have the means of support for his tools, the three classes of men: gifts, weapons, food, ale, clothing and whatever else is necessary for each of the three classes of men. 72

This, it has been alleged, is the first appearance of the three orders in the medieval Christian West. Irish influence (that explanatory deus ex machina) has even been surmized.73 But Dominique Iogna-Prat 71 Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, II, vii. translated by V. E. Watts

(Harmondsworth, 1969), p. 72. For Boethius' work in its context, see H. Chadwick, Boethius: the Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy (Oxford, 1981). 72 Trans. Sedgefield, p. 41 (the passage is referred to in Sedgefield's Index, p. 247, at 'Alfred, his theory of government'); and also Keynes and Lapidge. Alfred, p. 132. 73 G. Duby, The Three Orders. Feudal Society Imagined, English trans. (London, 1980; French original Paris, 1978), pp. 99-109, taking up the argument of D. Dubuisson, 'L'Irlande et la theorie medievale des "trois or-


Janet L. Nelson

and Edmond Ortigues 74 have now shown that the three orders of ancient Rome-senators, soldiers and farmers, familiar to medieval writers via Isidore-were 'baptized' by Frankish scholars in the middle decades of the ninth century. At the school of Auxerre, Haimo elaborated in his Commentary on the Book of Revelation a notion of three functional groups, substituting the priesthood for the senators. It has been suggested often enough that Continental commentaries on the Consolation of Philosophy, in particular that of another Auxerre scholar, Remigius, lie behind Alfred's comments on Boethius. Sceptics, notably Joseph Wittig, who elegantly demonstrated the nondependence of Alfred's treatment of the Orpheus story, 7 5 have perhaps thrown out the baby with the bath water. Lateral thinking shifts the focus from Commentaries on the Consolation of Philosophy to the Auxerre scholars' broader agenda.7 6 One such scholar, and one such work in particular, suggest the first link in the chain from Auxerre to the court of Alfred. The Miracles of St Germain, by Heiric, also a student of Haimo and like him author of a Commentary on Revelations, include a particularly clear exposition of the three orders theme. 77 The work was intended for the eyes of Charles the Bald and Heiric was a familiar of Charles's court in the





dres"', Revue de l 'Histoire des Religions, CLXXXVIII(I 975), 35-63. See also Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 298; and M. Godden, 'Money, power and morality in late Anglo-Saxon England', Anglo-Saxon England, XIX (1990), 41-66, at p. 55. D. Iogna-Prat, 'Le "bapteme" du schema des trois ordres fonctionnels', Annales. Economies. Societes. Civilisations, Janvier-Fevrier 1986, pp. 10126; E. Ortigues, 'L'elaboration de la Theorie des Trois Ordres chez Haymon d'Auxerre', Francia, XIV (1988), 27-43. Wittig, 'King Alfred's Boethius and its Latin sources: a reconsideration', Anglo-Saxon England, XI (1983), 157-98. But see W. F. Bolton, 'How Boethian is Alfred's Boethius?', in Studies in Earlier Old English Prose, edited by P. Szarmach (Binghampton, N.Y., 1986), pp. 153-68, still arguing for a Continental source. See the contributions to L'ecole carolingienne d'Auxerre, edited by D. IognaPrat, C. Jeudy, and G. Lobrichon (Paris, 1991). Miracula Sancti Germani, ii. 18, PL 124, col. 1254: 'some who fight, some who till the soil, and a third ordo whom God has chosen for his special service'.

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870s. 7 8 Around then too, another young cleric began to make his mark in that same milieu: Fulk, favoured man among the palatini, to whom Charles had given, by July 877, the abbacy of St-Bertin.79 It was from St-Bertin, via Reims, where Fulk became archbishop in 883, that Grimbald, Fulk's protege, was called by Alfred in 886. One further bit of evidence reinforces the hypothesis that the three orders came from Auxerre to Wessex via St-Bertin: late in the 890s, a member of the St-Bertin community wrote up that saint's miracles, including an account of a victory won against the Northmen in 891: the Christians divided their booty into three parts: the first went to the saint's sanctuaries; the second to those who pray [oratores] and the poor; the third to the fighting men [bellatores], 'more noble' and 'humbler' alike. 80

The author adds that the oratores including those unfit for fighting (imbelles) did more than the bellatores to bring about victory. These are not Alfred's three orders; nor do they coincide with the three groups, bellatores, operatores and advenae, among whom (according to Asser) was divided that half of Alfred's revenues which he devoted to earthly affairs. 81 But these are variations on a theme of trifunctionality. (Even the practical means of support, the allegedly most 'Alfredian' details, food and beer, do in fact come from Continental Commentaries on the Consolation of Philosophy. 82 ) And the Nelson, Charles the Bald, p. 234. 79 Ibid., p. 250. so Miracula Sancti Bertini, c. 7, edited by 0. Holder-Egger, MGH SS, XV, part 1, pp. 512-3. 81 Asser, Life, cc. 100, 101, pp. 86-7, trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, pp. 106-7. 82 J. C. Frakes, The Fate of Fortune in the Early Middle Ages. The Boethian Tradition (Leiden, 1988), p. 112. Cf. a similar interpolation about 'meat, drink and clothes', trans. Sedgefield, p. 29. For guidance to Alfred's Boethius, Frakes's fine book should now be consulted along with K. Otten, Konig Alfreds Boethius (TUbingen, 1964 ), F. A. Payne, King Alfred and Boethius: an Analysis of the OE Version of the 'Consolation of Philosophy· (Madison, 1968), and A. J. Frantzen, King Alfred (Boston, 1986), pp. 43-66. 78


Janet L. Nelson

likeliest medium for the theme's transmission to Alfred's England is Grimbald of St-Bertin. Where does that leave Alfred's 'original idea'? The question is misconceived: early medieval writers characteristically drew on authorities and made their own contributions in the ways they rearranged or marginally adapted their materials. Alfred did just that. Precisely because he was a king, and not a monk or a priest, Alfred viewed the three orders from the king's perspective, situated them in reference to royal needs. So the interpolated passage replaces ecclesiology by political thought. Alfred asked, not: how is the church composed? but: how can a king's power be exercised?83 Because he read as a king, Alfred fundamentally reinterpreted Boethius •s work, by applying an Augustinian (and ultimately Stoic) criterion: where Boethius had rejected wordly goods, including political power, Alfred, like Augustine, accepted them--0n condition that (buton--0nly if--0nly so long as-is a characteristic and crucial Alfredian construction) they were rightly used.84 In order to effect this reinterpretation, Alfred radically altered the figure of Fortune who occupied a central place in Boethius's original work. The concept of wyrd (Fate) was depersonalized, eviscerated, devalued, denied autonomy: it became simply what happens in the world-and was seen as wholly under the controlling power of God. 85 On the other hand, woruldsaelda (worldly goods) were revalued: in an interpolated passage, following his translation of Consolation of Philosophy II, ii, Alfred gave a little speech to personified

83 Nelson, 'Kingship and Empire', pp. 239-40. Since I gave the present paper

last April, Wendy Davies has very kindly allowed me to read an unpublished paper of her own on insular treatments of the three orders theme. We seem to have arrived independently (and, for me, reassuringly!) at similar conclusions as to the sources of Alfred's thought. 84 See R.A. Markus, Saeculum: History and Society in the Theology of St Augustine, 2nd edn. (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 67-8, citing Augustinian works (Responses to Diverse Questions; The City of God) that may not have been known to Alfred. But the notion of right use also appears in Soliloquies l, iii, 7, edited and translated by G. Watson (Warminster, 1990), p. 22: ' ... cum ilium iure oderim qui male utitur eo quod amo'. For Alfred's characteristic 'only if, see Whitelock, 'The Prose of Alfred's Reign'. pp. 94-5. 85 Frakes, Fate of Fortune, p. 91.

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woruldsaelda:86 Why do you reproach us? [they ask the Prisoner]. It was you who first desired us, not we you. You set us on the Creator's throne when you looked to us for the good you should seek from Him .... You are more guilty than we are ... because owing to you we are unable to do the will of our Maker. He lent us to you to enjoy in accordance with his commands.

This passage follows a crucial modification in the Boethian original: Alfred omitted personified Fortune, and substituted Wisdom, that is, an aspect of God. It seems to me significant that Fortuneunstable, capricious-was always conceived, by Classical authors, and by their medieval and Renaissance heirs, as female, 87 while Wisdom in Alfred's Old English-reasonable, consistent, knowledgeable-is male: a model of good lordship, a giver and lender of goods. Accordingly Wisdom's control over men begins when they attain maturity-to monnum become88-and so become capable of rightthinking, of wise use of the good they are 'lent'. The revaluing of worldly goods thus goes hand in hand with a revaluing of earthly life, and of the possibilities for useful activity in a patriarchal social world. Appropriately, the concept Alfred introduces here is that of the tool or instrument, of men as the king's tools, and of material resources and human skills as their tools. To develop skill, Wisdom is required: but if it is thus applied, and skills used to wise ends, then worldly goods are to be welcomed, not rejected. What Alfred has 86 Trans. Sedgeheld, pp. 16-7. 87 Cf. Machiavelli's well-known treatment of

Fortuna in The Prince, c. xxv,

edited by Q. Skinner, translated by R. Price (Cambridge, 1988), p. 87: 'I certainly think it is better to be impetuous than cautious, because fortune is a woman, and if you want to control her, it is necessary to treat her roughly. And it is clear that she is more inclined to yield to men who are impetuous than to those who are calculating'. See further Price's notes onfortuna, ibid., pp. 104-6. 88 Frakes, Fate of Fortune, pp. 103-4 makes the point about maturity, without noting the gender component in the key terms.


Janet L. Nelson

done is to convert the world-rejecting message of Boethius into one of clear, if conditional, acceptance. Boethius's consolation, entirely congenial as it stood to a monastic world-view, has necessarily been adapted to a secular but still emphatically Christian one, and hence become useful in a new sense. Auxerre baptized: Alfred politicized. In another piece of Alfredian adaptation, that politicization is given a further dimension. Boethius had indulged in a little flight of fancy: You'd laugh if you saw a community of mice and one mouse arrogating to himself power and jurisdiction over the others! ... Don't you stop to consider, you earthly creatures, the people over whom you think you exercise authority?89

Boethius' s point is that humankind -all of them-are as feeble as mice and that political pretensions would the refore be as ludicrous in the one case as in the other. Here's what Alfred makes of the passage: Suppose you saw a mouse that was a lord over other mice, and laid down laws for them, and made them pay taxes: wouldn't you be amazed, wouldn't you shake with laughter! Yet a man's body compared with his mind is like a mouse's body compared to a man's. A man's body is frail ... but a mind with discernment cannot be banned. 90

Alfred draws a quite different conclusion from Boethius' s, almost the opposite in fact. Where Boethius was bitterly ironic, Alfred invites to cheerful laughter and where Boethius was gloomily egalitarian, Alfred is optimistic about the capacities of men (if not those of mice). Lawgiving and tax-taking are not ludicrous in human communities precisely because a man with a discerning mind can exer-

89 Trans. p. 70. 90 Ed. Sedgefield, pp. 35-6. Cf. trans. Sedgefield, p. 36 (I have ventured my own translation above). For the term gafol, tax, see J. Bosworth and T. N. Toller, An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (Oxford, 1898), s. v.

The Political Ideas of Alfred of Wessex


cize authority successfully _91 Alfred's thought can be compared, further, to Augustine's, and a rather similar contrast observed. Where in Augustine' s saeculum, there is only peace of a kind, and the human judge's condition of ignorance is a miserable one,92Alfred sees power committed to him by God to be rightfully administered, and those who serve the king also have their crafts to develop and apply. Where Augustine's citizens of the heavenly city remained peregrini, resident aliens, in earthly cities, Alfred's three orders are fully at home in manning the king's land and, in a more personal sense, on the laen (leased lands) the king may give them.93 Alfred's ideas present another, equally striking, contrast with those who wrote mirrors of princes for the Carolingians-the exponents of l 'Augustinisme politique. Jonas, Sedulius, Hincmar all stressed the authoritative role of bishops in directing royal power-in fact, situated that power (in Ambrosian mode) firmly within the Church. If they rehabilitated earthly kingdoms, the Carolingian writers did so on ecclesiastical terms. For them there could be no positive idea of secular power in its own right.94 Alfred is a notable contrast. He has nothing to say in any of his Boethian interpolations about the institutional church. Bishops, priests, are unmentioned. This is true too of his other writings. And even in the Pastoral Care there is a tendency to shift Gregory's original sense of rector-bishop-to those in secular authority: kings in particular. In the Augustine translation, Alfred inserts two famous analogies. First, you can recognize God's will for you as clearly as you can recognize your lord's will in his letter and seal (dines hlafordes cerendgewrit and hys insegel)91 In an interesting interpolation in his version of the Pastoral Care, cited by Whitelock, 'The Prose of Alfred's Reign', p. 64, Alfred makes it clear that while authority (ea/dordom) can be seen as service (iknenga), it should have nothing to do with companionship (geferrredenne) or equality (efnlicnesse) when the ruled are evil. 92 City of God, XIX, 6, 13. 93 Preface to Soliloquies, edited by T. Carnicelli (Cambridge, Mass., 1969), p. 48, trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 139. 94 Wallace-Hadrill, 'The via regia of the Carolingian age'; Nelson, Politics and Ritual in Early Medieval Europe (London, 1986), pp. 133-71.


Janet L. Nelson

and once you've recognized it, you follow it, whatever the immediate sacrifice, preferring temporary loss of wealth (welan) to losing your lord's friendship. Second, wisdom is like the king's court: all are drawn to it, though some have a harder time getting there than others, and once there, not all get equally close to the king.95 Here Alfred assumes readers already familiar with the king's power and with his demands-which is why he can use those to illustrate God's. Michael Wallace-Hadrill memorably remarked that Alfred was short of bishops.96 That shortage was in fact the necessary condition for Alfred's pursuit of his own thoroughly secular but thoroughly Christian approach to politics. With more, and more authoritative, bishops at his side, breathing down his neck, Alfred could never have framed his distinctive idea of the realm as a territory within which the king wielded unique authority over resources and over men-lawgiving and tribute-taking. As in Francia, and as in Mercia, too,97 so in Wessex Alfred had to raise tribute to pay off Scandinavian warbands. This pressing need engendered public activity of the most concrete kind, and ideas of state power to match. Such ideas-that the state had the right and responsibility to tax in order to defend its territory, and that even churches might be required to contribute (being quantum ad saecularia within the remit of secular authority)-are implicit in Alfred's reform of the coinage early on in his reign, c. 875, and in his unabashed statement in a charter for Winchester that the bishop and familia, after receiving an estate as a bequest from King JEthelwulf but being unable to pay off their contribution to the tribute which the whole gens was accustomed to pay to the pagani, 'begged me [Alfred] to pay off the tribute and to have the land-which I did' _98 The problem was to maintain the resources of the kingdom over time. Alfred was all too familiar with the risk of conflict within the royal 95 Trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, pp. 141, 143-4. 96 Early Germanic Kingship, p. 149. 97 Francia: Annals of St-Bertin, trans. Nelson, pp. 130, 200; Mercia: Sawyer, no. 1278. For effects on the coinage, see D. Metcalf and J. Northover, 'Coinage alloys from the time of Offa to Charlemagne', Numismatic Chronicle, CLIX (1989), lO l-20. 98 Sawyer, no. 354.

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family-hence of the risk of splitting the royal resources. Compared to the Carolingians the West Saxon royal dynasty did well in inhibiting fraternal conflict-Alfred seems anxious, anyway, to give this impression in his Will, where he reca:Is how he and his brother provided for each other's children in a series of agreements. 99 The ASC records the peaceful transmission of the kingship from one brother to the next and Asser underlines this point. Intergenerational conflict, especially between father and son, was a more serious problem. Asser reports the rebellion of Alfred's eldest brother against his father King JEthelwulf-quaedam infamia contra morem omnium 100 Christianorum. And in praising Alfred's upbringing of his children, Asser carefully specifies their magna patris subjectio-the reference seems to be to Edward in particular.101 Alfred himself in the Boethius translation waxes especially indignant on the subject of rebellion within the family: 'we have learned that long ago there happened a most unwonted and unnatural evil, that sons conspired together and plotted against their father' . 102 Again, this time a propos the Classical myth of the Giants rebelling against Jove, Alfred comments: 'Giants, sons of the earth who ruled over the earth and were, so to speak, Jove's sisters' children, were angry that he had sway over them, and sought to burst the heavens beneath him-but he sent thunders and lightnings and scattered therewith all their handiwork and themselves he slew'. 103 Alfred firmly denied the claims of his nephews to shares in the kingdom; he tried to deny no less firmly the claims of his son to a share in the kingdom during his, Alfred's, own lifetime; and he tried to obliterate the existence of Mercia as a separate kingdom, insisting its ruler (his own son-in-law) be termed not king but ealdorman. Fi99 Trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 174. For other aspects of conflict-control, see P. Stafford, 'The king's wife in Wessex', Past and Present, XCI (1981 ), 3-27; Nelson, '"A king across the sea": Alfred in Continental perspective', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, XXXVI ( 1986), 4568. 100 Life, c. 12, p. 9, trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 70. IOI Life, c. 75, p. 58, trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 90. 102 Trans., p. 76. 103 Trans., p. 112.


Janet L. Nelson

nally Alfred arranged for the single succession of one son, Edward, to his whole composite realm, and, thinking ahead to the next generation, ritually invested Edward's eldest son Athelstan, then aged four, in what looks like a replica of Alfred's investiture at the age of four, in 853.104 If Alfred had a clear conception of his realm as an impartible territory, he also conceived his anweald in terms of power over men. In his Laws, he draws a sharp distinction between free and slave; in his Boethius translation 'a mighty [rice] king', he says, 'should only be served by free men' . 105 Those free men involved in a special relationship of service to the ruler occupied a special position. The king offered them friendship, 106 signifying a relationship of unequals which perhaps nevertheless carried a reminder that men are by nature equal-an idea which Alfred could have read in Gregory .107 The relationship was a personal one, each friend being the man of his lord. But it was not only personal. Alfred termed the three orders geferscipas-groups of gefere--companions.108 The king's thegns themSee further, Nelson, 'Reconstructing a royal family', 63. Laws [43) 39, trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 170, with n. 31, p. 310; Boethius, trans. Sedgefield, p. 142. See Godden, 'Money, power and morality', p. 46, arguing that Alfred consistently distinguishes between 'wealthy' (welig) and 'having authority' (rice), yet acknowledging a difficulty for his argument in one passage of the Boethius, trans. Sedgefield, p. 69, where Alfred, describing treasurers (mathmhirdas) as rice, seems to see power and wealth as going together. (Note that rice is both an adjective and a noun ['kingdom', 'realm'].) With the statement (p. 67): 'authority and riches [rice] cannot make their possessor more worthy but rather make him the Jess worthy, unless he were already good', Alfred (with a characteristic butonenabling him to have his cake and eat it) paves the way for an extension of the sense of rice to include powerful and wealthy in the case of good officeholders. Godden's general argument for a semantic shift in the tenth century is persuasive, nonetheless. 106 Soliloquies, trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 142. 107 Pastoral Care, II, 6, PL, LXXVII, col. 34, OE Version edited by H. Sweet, King Alfred's West Saxon Version of Gregory's Pastoral Care, 2 vols, Early English Text Society, Original Series, 45, 50 (London, 1871-2), c. 17, pp. 106-7. For friends as kinsmen, see Boethius version, trans. Keynes and Lapidge. Alfred, p. 133. 108 Alfred's Old English Boethius, ed. Sedgefield, p. 40. I04 105

The Political Ideas of Alfred of Wessex


selves formed a group and the ASC underlined their collective importance as guardians of burhs and more generally as royal agents 'in the land' (896). To the author of the 896 annal Alfred had suffered less in the 890s from Scandinavian attacks than from the deaths of 'the best king's thegns'. 109 But on one group of his thegns the king relied especially: his fasselli summertunenses-his closest retainers recruited from Somerset (had his apanage in the 860s lain in that shire?)-who in 878 shared his tribulations and his triumph. 11o Asser elsewhere writes of Alfred's dilectissimi ministri, or his satellites.1 11 Though only a dozen charters of Alfred's survive, they preserve some 70 attestations of king's thegns, that is, the names of some fifty individuals.112 These were the tools of which Alfred especially relied: allpurpose agents of his will, bearers of his intentions, those to whom he recited Saxon books 'and especially taught Saxon songs by heart'. These men were bound to him by f amiliaris dilectio 113and Alfred shared with them his longing for wisdom. Asser hit the nail on the head in calling these men vassals, for they are the exact counterparts of the men on whom ninth-century Carolingians relied to run their realms and who, precisely in the 860s and 870s and in the West Frankish kingdom, were acquiring clear definition as individuals and


ASC 893,896, pp. 87, 90.

I 10 Asser, Life, c. 55, p. 44. (Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 84, translate

'thegns', which obscures the particularity of Asser's term here.) Cf. also c. 53, p. 41 (faselli). On the term fas( s)elus as 'a proof of Frankish influence', see Stevenson's note, Life, pp. 254-5. See also Nelson, '"A king across the sea"', p. 67. 111 Life, cc. 91, l 00, pp. 78, 87, trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, pp. 101-2, 106. 112I consulted the witness-lists of the following charters in W. de G. Birch, Cartularium Saxonicum, 3 vols (London, 1885-99), II, nos. 548 (Sawyer, 321 ), 549 (Sawyer, 352), 550 (Sawyer, 345), 565 (Sawyer, 354), 567 (Sawyer, 348), 568 (Sawyer, 356), 576 (Sawyer, 350), 581 (Sawyer, 355). In a few cases it is unclear whether the attester is a thegn or not: hence an approximate total. The relatively small number of repeated attestations could suggest a high tum-over. ASC 893, p. 87, says that 'many king's thegns' were killed at Buttington, for instance. 113Asser, Life, c. 76, p. 60, trans. Keynes and Lapidge, Alfred, p. 91.


Janet L Nelson

as a group.114 Did Grimbald tell Asser, and Alfred, about vassalli? But would not Alfred, in any case, in his desire to exalt royal authority and hence to generalize the ideal of service to that authority, have recast his companions (gesiths) and reeves, and even his ealdormen and bishops, as thegns?l 15 That Alfred should emphasize order and authority (and not only royal authority) is hardly surprising. It is not surprising, either, that he should impose the death-penalty for one who plots against the king's life and for one who plots against his lord's life.116Lordship at every level was linked in a hierarchy, divinely ordained by the Lord of Lords. But what is more surprising, and equally revealing of Alfred's political ideas, is the notion that it may sometimes be justified to resist your lord. One very remarkable difference between Boethius's prisoner and Alfred's (whom he calls Mod-Mind) is that whereas Boethius asserts his innocence of the charge of conspiracy, Alfred's prisoner has indeed plotted against his lord. Here's how Alfred describes it: To the Romans [Theodoric] promised his friendship and that they should keep their old rights; but he kept that promise very batoo often been seen as process or imperative rather than as an ex post facto description of what princes brought about; but it is not necessary to deny the existence of incipient territories in the twelfth century in order to hold this view.


Timothy Reuter

tuned to papal or Norman writs of the twelfth century. It begins 'I order you most firmly, as you wish to retain my goodwill' and ends 'knowing that if you offend them contrary to this my precept in any way or exact anything from them you will incur my indignation and offence, and have to pay for this without hope of recovery'. 64 At the end of a long line of development which is not here our concern, most of the late medieval German principalities came to display the 'lineages of the absolutist state' just as much as Aragon or Castile or France or England: appellate jurisdiction, officials, residences, taxation, legislation, estates represented in parliaments and so forth; all that was missing was coronation and unction. 65 And there was a more or less unconscious acknowledgement of the kingly status of such rulers in the marriage practices of the royal families of Europe in the dynastic era between 1300 and 1800: the sons and daughters of German princes were not royal, but they were marriageable in a way that otherwise only members of royal families were. The regality of late medieval princes is epitomized in the prologue to the Chronicle of the Counts of the Mark, written in the mid-fourteenth century: it is a miniature mirror for princes, with all the advice which one might expect for a crowned ruler: the counts should protect widows, keep the roads safe, do justice without respect of persons, surround themselves with good counsellors, make sure that their officials are not oppressive, and so forth. But this advice is addressed to the members of a not overly significant comital family in north-west Germany by one of its professional counsellors. 66 Why, given such princely regality, was there no collective repetition of the Codex Dip/omaticus Saxoniae Regni. 2 vols paginated as one, edited by 0. Posse and H. Ennisch (Leizpig, 1889), p. 357, no. 516. 65 Much of the voluminous Gennan literature is summarized or noted in Arnold, Princes and Territories; the best survey of the period is undoubtedly Peter Moraw, Von offener Verfassung zu gestalteter Verdichtung. Das Reich im spiiten Mittelalter, 1250 bis 1490, Propylaen Geschichte Deutschlands, 3 (Berlin, 1985). The colloquium Der deutsche Territorialstaat im 14. Jahrhundert, edited by H. Patze, Vortrage und Forschungen, 13, 2 vols (Sigmaringen, 1970), is still the best access to the specialized problems. 66 Die Chronik der Grafen von der Mark von Levold von Northof, edited by Fritz Zschaek, MGH SRG, NS, VI (Berlin, 1929; rpt 1984), 3-13. 64

The Medieval German Sonderweg?


transition from the Merovingians to the Carolingians, no attempt to bring nomen and potestas into harmony once more in order to preserve ordo? Leaving the special case of Bohemia aside, we have some reason to suppose that Henry the Lion thought of becoming king, and we know of a project to tum the duchy of Austria into a kingdom in the 1240s. But that, until the second half of the fifteenth century, is all.67 Why did the German princes not become kings, and why did the German kings not cease to be kings? One reason why princes did not seek to become kings may perhaps be found in Regino of Prtim's comment on the succession to Charles III in 888: 'Not that the Franks lacked princes with the nobility, courage and wisdom to rule over kingdoms; rather, the equality of ancestry, dignity and power enhanced the discord, for none was so outstanding that the others could submit to him without losing face. ' 68 It was precisely because the political community was so conscious of questions of rank, honour and status that there was a kind of mutual deterrence; no one wanted to risk a titles race. Quite apart from this, there would have been losers in such a race: imperial cities which derived some limited comfort and protection against local potentates from their direct links with the king; younger brothers who would have lost out in any transformation of a principality to a (presumably indivisible) kingdom; ecclesiastical princes who were inherently incapable of aspiring to kingship and lesser princes who would have found a king on their doorstep much less comfortable than a king who only showed up every few years, if at all. 69 Besides this, the model of kingship immediately available (I shall return to the ques67 See Hans Hirsch, 'Das Recht der Konigserhebung durch Kaiser und Papst im

hohen Mittelalter', Festschrift E. Heymann (Weimar, 1940), pp. 209-49. On Henry the Lion see above, n. 60. 6 8 Reginonis Prumiensis Chronicon cum continuatione Treverensi, s.a. 888, edited by Friedrich Kurze, MGH SRG, L (Hanover, 1890), 129, with echoes of Justinus. 69 For maps of the late medieval royal itinerary see Moraw, Von offener Verfassung, pp. 215, 223, 225, 227,231,250. P. Moraw, 'Franken als konigsnahe Landschaft des spaten Mittelalters', Blatter fur deutsche Landesgeschichte, CXII (1976), 123-38, at pp. 123-5, has a good discussion of the different kinds of region in relation to royal power.


Timothy Reuter

tion of European comparisons later) exercised no magnetic attraction. A king was needed, in the fifteenth century as in the tenth, because so large a polity needed some overarching structures if it were to continue to exist at all, and it was in the interests of the princes themselves that it should. Kings were a principal source of legitimacy for other rulers, not least because they were also emperors, a rank which was of significance to the princes as well as its holders, as we shall see shortly. They symbolized the political community, in so far as this still existed; and they had certain residual powers not to be underestimated. 10 What they did not fulfil was any need for kingship just round the comer. In the last resort, kings were not seen like that. The question now arises, why have we generally chosen to see them like that? Why have our expectations been different? It should be said first of all that our tendency to ruler-worship, which can lead even those historians not of a naturally authoritarian cast of mind into stressing the positive side of extremely unpleasant and arbitrary actions by medieval kings, is a product both of our own preconceptions and of the visibility of rulers in the sources. We tend, particularly in the simplifications necessary for textbooks and handbooks, to see kings (when Good, and especially when Strong71) as imposing their will on their political communities in a series of voluntaristic acts, as driving the machine; the failures were the ones who were too Weak to do this. This is a way of looking at things appropriate to people whose 'determining technology' was the machine: rulers are the motors of history.72 But our determining 70 The nature and purpose of German kingship in the later middle ages, which is



not here my theme, have been reviewed in two recent syntheses: Karl-Friedrich Krieger, 'Konig, Reich und Reichsreform im Spatmittelalter', Enzyklopddie Deutscher Geschichte, XIV (Munich. 1992), 5-30 (summary of problem), 62-99 (current historiography), with extensive bibliography, and Ernst Schubert, Einfiihrung in die Grundprobleme der deutscl1en Geschichte im Spdtmittelalter (Dannstadt, 1992), pp. 196-232, esp. pp. 226-32. For the satirical terminology I am indebted, as are we all, to Walter Carruthers Sellar and Robert Julian Yeatman, 1066 and All That (Harmondsworth, 1960; originally published 1923), passim. For the notion of a 'determining technology' see J. David Bolter, Turing's Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age (Chapel Hill, NC, 1984). The in-

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technology is electronic; hence we think (or should think) not in terms of active and passive components, of pistons, cogs and wheels, but in terms of feedback loops and systems. Though it would clearly be foolish to exclude the personal element altogether, the reality was much nearer the idea that kingship was a social construct, the result of political market forces. Successful rulers were those who could offer a product for which there was sustained demand. Let me illustrate this point by turning from the regnum Teutonicum to the kingdom of Italy and the empire, where we can see the same ruler behaving in a different way in response to different demands (much as Henry II was a different sort of animal in Aquitaine). The emperorship held intermittently by east Frankish and German rulers after 875-a much more important date than 800 in the definition of the meaning and content of western emperorship, incidentally-had meant a loose claim to hegemony in Europe, and the right and the duty to protect the papacy. It could not be exercised without rule over Italy, but it was not formally linked with the Italian kingdom. The Ottonians and early Salians seem at times to have allowed the kingdom to go its own way, at other times to have encouraged a gradual integration of the kingdom into their own transalpine realm, much as Lotharingia had been incorporated in the tenth century.7 3 It is often said that Barbarossa sought to restore imperial rights in Italy following their dissipation in the century following the death of Henry III in l 056, not least because these revenues were estimated at 30,000 talents (sc. pounds) annually.7 4 But the link between these rights and the imperial office was new, and what was proposed was no mere restoration; even making allowances for our ignorance, and for inflation and economic growth between the mid-eleventh and

herent limitations of 'motor' as metaphor have been well dealt with by E. P. Thompson. 'The Poverty of Theory, or: An Orrery of Errors', in The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays (London, 1978), pp. 295-8. 73 I have sketched some of this in Germany in the Early Middle Ages, pp. 26873. 74 The estimate of revenues is given by Rahewin, Gesta Friderici, iv. 9, ed. Waitz and von Simson. p. 240; it was not part ofFrederick's original account of his actions in Italy, Gesta Friderici, ed. Waitz and von Simson, pp. 1-5.


Timothy Reuter

mid-twelfth centuries, it is clear that Henry III, say, had drawn nothing like these sums from Italy, and had not drawn the sums he did on the same basis as Barbarossa was proposing. Barbarossa's Italienpolitik was a response to changed circumstances in Italy. Although both Italian and German patriotisms have tended for differing reasons to imply that Barbarossa was trying to impose his own will on the peninsula, his intervention was long sustained by a substantial party within Italy itself. Partly this was a traditional move in Italian politics: to call Barbarossa in against Milan was structurally comparable with calling Otto I in against Berengar 11.7 5 More importantly, it was a consequence of the ideological legitimation of the new structures of urban government; if you see yourself as being validated by Roman law, you can hardly reject the Roman legislator. Yet the Staufer failed, because in the last resort consciousness was determined by being. The governing elites of the north Italian cities, confronted with an actual Roman emperor, found that they could indeed dispense with him as a real presence, however ideologically necessary he might previously have appeared; the costs-political and legal, not financial-were too high. 76 Conveniently, the undermining of the emperors' ideological base began almost simultaneously with the change in imperial attitudes to Italy and Italy's attitudes to the emperor. The scene at Besanr;on in 1157, when the papal legate, confronted with collective outrage at Hadrian IV's 75

The technique was noted in an aphorism by Liudprand of Cremona, Antapodosis, i. 37, in Liudprandi Opera, edited by J. Becker, MGH SRG, XLI (Hanover, 1915), 27: ' ... quia semper Italienses geminis uti dominis volunt, quatinus alterum alterius terrore cohercean ... •. 76 See on all this Alfred Haverkamp. Herrschaftsformen der Friihstaufer in Reichsitalien, Monographien zur Geschichte des Mittelalters, I, 2 vols paginated as one (Stuttgart, 1970). pp. 37-84 (history and historiography). 8510 I (legal basis of the regalia). and idem, 'Der Konstanzer Friede zwischen Kaiser und Lombardenbund (1183)'. in Kommunale Biindnisse Oberitaliens und Oberdeutschlands im Verg/eich, edited by Helmut Maurer, Vortrage und Forschungen .... 23 (Sigmaringen, 1987), pp. I 1-44. Note that the 'price' was one of freedom of action. The Lombard cities were willing to pay Frederick money for the legitimization of their activities, as Jong as he did not interfere with them.

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use of the term beneficium, asked with feigned innocence: 'From whom then does he hold the empire if not from the Lord Pope?', is well known. 77 But this was not a restatement of an age-old papal principle going back in essence to Gelasius, pace Walter Ullmann.78 Rather, it was almost the first explicit statement of a papal redefinition of imperial office which had been under way probably from the time of the traumatic episode of 1111. Still more significant is Rahewin' s gloss on the episode: 'the strict interpretation of these words ... was the more easily believed because they knew that some Romans rashly claimed that our kings had held the imperium over the City and the kingdom of Italy up to now as a gift from the popes' _79 In other words, just at the time when the German king/emperor was beginning to respond to Italian demands and hence to face up to the contradictions behind those demands, his legitimacy south of the Alps was being called in question by a power itself capable of offering an alternative legitimacy. Faced with a declining demand for their services, the emperors could not prevail by will and force alone. All that was to be left in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries after the blood had dried was the imperial title itself, which was not without its functionality north of the Alps as a symbol of the regnum Teutonicum. This functionality was already evident in the twelfth century. The indignation expressed at Besan~on was expressed by the German princes, not just by Barbarossa, who took care in the subsequent propaganda battle to stress the affront to the Empire, not just to the Emperor, in his public responses; there is a clear line running from Besan~on through the thirteenth-century disputes to the declaration of Rhens nearly 200 years later.80 77 Rahewin,

Gesta Friderici, iii. 10, ed. Waitz and von Simson, p. 177; the fullest recent study of the incident is W. Heinemeyer, 'Beneficium-non feodum sed bonum factum. Der Streit auf dem Reichstag zu Besan1ron 1157', Archiv fur Dip/omatik, XV ( 1969), 155-236. 78 'Pope Hadrian IV' and 'Cardinal Roland and Besan~on', reprinted as chapters III and IV in The Papacy and Political Ideas in the Middle Ages (London, 1976). 79 Rahewin, Gesta Friderici, iii. JO. 80 The claim had already been made by Henry IV in his response to Gregory VII in 1076, Die Briefe Heinrichs IV .• edited by Carl Erdmann, MGH, Deutsches


Timothy Reuter

But if Italy should warn us not to see rulers as voluntaristic masters of their fate, we should also remember that contemporaries saw the strengths and weaknesses of rulers as the dynamic element in medieval politics just as we do, and were puzzled when the model did not work. This puzzlement is visible for example in the Chronica regia Coloniensis's obituary on Conrad Ill; 'He was a man of considerable military ability and, as befits a king, very high-minded; yet by some misfortune the polity began to decay under him' _s1Even in so conservative a polity as the Reich there were other mental models available for kingship than the ones I have so far chosen to stress. We have seen some of the realities of Barbarossa as judge; but Otto of Freising could depict him on his coronation day as a stern ruler, bound not by earthly ties but solely by the objective necessities of abstract justice-rulers could be seen like that as well. 82 The depenMittelalter, I (Leipzig, 1937), 14, no. 11. The propagandistic response to Besam;on is in Gesta Friderici, iii. 11 (Frederick's encyclical) and 17 (response of the German bishops to Hadrian IV), ed. Waitz and von Simson, pp. 178-9 and 187-9. For later rejections by the princes of papal claims (implicit or explicit) to interfere in or judge German royal elections see the bibliographical references in Krieger, Konig. Reich und Reichsreform, p. 62. 81 Chronica regia Co/oniensis, s.a. 1152, edited by G. Waitz, MGH SRG, XVIII (Hanover, 1880): 'Erat tamen vir militari virtute strenuus et, quod regem decuit, valde animosus; sed quodam infortunio res publica sub eo labefactari ceperat.' See Karl Leyser, 'Some Reflections on Twelfth-Century Kings and Kingship', in Medieval Germany and its Neighbours, 900-1250 (London, 1982), pp. 241-67, at pp. 243-4, who acutely notes the similarities with the modern Strong/Good/Weak King conceptual framework (on which see above, p. 204 and n. 71 ). 82 Gesta Friderici, ii. 3, ed. Waitz and von Simson, pp. 104-5: Frederick refused a request for forgiveness by 'quidam de rninistris eius, qui pro quibusdam excessibus gravibus a gratia sua adhuc privati' saying 'non ex odio, sed iusticiae intuitu illum a gratia sua exclusum fuisse'. 0110 was here probably pointing a contrast with the account of Conrad II's coronation in Wipo, Gesta Chuonradi, c. 3, edited by Harry BreBlau in Wiponis Opera, MGH SRG, LXI (Hanover, 1915), 20-3, who tells how the new ruler paused to do justice to supplicants on his way to be crowned, and at his coronation forgave those who had done him injuries before he became king; Otto knew and used Wipo's work. On the contrast see Gerd Althoff, 'Konigsherrschaft und Kontliktbewaltigung im 10. und 11. Jahrhundert', Friihmittelalterliche

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dence of the historiographers of the high middle ages on Cicero and Sallust and Suetonius as well as the patristic and early medieval historical classics meant that they talked about kingship using a common vocabulary, one which did not take into account the self-evident elements of the political culture which I have been trying to delineate. The same is true, incidentally, of coronation ordines, which resemble each other much more than did the polities in which they were used. Besides which, there were indeed elements of 'administrative kingship' visible in the Reich, 83 not least because the rulers were almost always themselves members of this aristocratic commonwealth as princes in their own right, not just as kings. 84 Kings also wished to consolidate and expand at the expense of others, and used their kingship quite ruthlessly to try to do so: the prince most favoured by any German ruler was himself, as Karl Leyser has recently demonstrated of Barbarossa.85 C. C. Bayley aroused some indignation among German scholars forty years ago with his cruel epigram: 'Scratch a German emperor and you find a tribal chieftain' ,86but if one were to rephrase this as 'scratch a German emperor Studien, XXIII( 1989), 265-90, at p. 288. 83 For Barbarossa's capabilities in this respect see K. J. Leyser, 'Friedrich Bar-

barossa: Hof und Land', in Friedrich Barbarossa, ed. Haverkamp, pp. 51930. 84 Note the distinction between royal and dynastic lands (Reichsgut, Hausgut), on which see Hans Constantin FauBner, 'Die Verfiigungsgewalt des deutschen Konigs iiber weltliches Reichsgut im Hochmittelalter', Deutsches Archiv, XXIX ( 1973), 345-449 (with valuable insights, but over-systematized). For kings issuing themselves and their families privileges see e.g. DFI, no. 77 for Lorch (confirming the advocacy 'inter descendentes de genere regis Cuonraoi et Friderici ducis clarissimi'), which has a much-discussed precursor in Otto I's first diploma for Quedlinburg: see Karl Schmid, 'Die Thronfolge Ottos des GroBen', ZRG, germ. Abt., LXXXI (1964), 80-163, section III, 'DOI. I'. 85 'Frederick Barbarossa and the Hohenstaufen polity', Viator, XIX ( 1988), 154-76, esp. pp. 175-6. 86 Charles C. Bayley, The Formation of the German College of Electors in the Mid-Thirteenth Century (Toronto, 1949), p. 105; for a typical reaction ('neither particularly tasteful nor wholly accurate') see the review by Heinrich Mitteis, reprinted in his Die Rechtsidee in der Geschichte (Weimar,


Timothy Reuter

and you find a dynastically-minded magnate' it would be hard to quarrel with. The narrative sources thus often mislead by using a public and royal (hence 'state-centred') vocabulary for the private and dynastic aspirations of rulers. Yet appearance might have become reality, as happened in a sense further west; in the last resort it was the deep structures and ancient traditions of the kingdom which were to prevail, but not for want of conceptual alternatives. Such alternatives were not just found in liturgy and literature; from the twelfth century at the latest people in the Reich were, as elsewhere in Europe, very much aware of what was happening in Other Countries, and did not necessarily take Mr. Podsnap's attitude to developments in foreign parts. 87 They compared and drew contrasts, just as modem historians have done. But they were only imperfectly aware of the realities of Other Countries, and here too modern historians have been no different. Seen from a German perspective, the Norman, Angevin and Capetian rulers with whom German rulers have been implicitly or explicitly compared have looked more impressive, more authoritative, more centralising, more in control of events than their German counterparts. Indeed, they have seemed more so than many French and English historians would now be willing to concede; at least some of the contrast between Germany and the west implicit in what has been said here may be more seeming than real. The German rulers were not alone in ruling over a polycentric realm, or in having to cooperate with their leading men; it is only because rulers elsewhere with hindsight seem to have been the drops around which the rain-clouds of the modern state could form that they have in anticipation been so readily invested with its qualities. In such matters the concerns of historians have been determined both by language and by historiographical traditions. This is particularly true of Germany. There might perfectly well be a German word Konigschaft, but in fact there is not: there is only Konigtum (to be translated either as 'the crown' or in certain contexts as 'the ideological basis of royal rule') and Konigsherrschaft, 'royal government'. Unlike 'kingship' (but like 'royaute'?) the word has no overtones of 1957), p. 700. 87 The point is well made by Leyser, 'Some Reflections', pp. 248-50.

The Medieval German Sonderweg?


style of rulership, nor have German historians been encouraged to consider this by what is still a strongly etatiste historiographical tradition. 88 Yet it is not just German historians who need a greater willingness to consider medieval rulership and politics as style rather than institution: where are the studies of rebellion or of interaction at assemblies in the England, France and Spain of the high middle ages, for example? One of the benefits which a Europeanist historiography properly conceived might bring us would be an ability to understand our own immediate history better through a deeper knowledge of the practical realities of other countries' histories, not just of what are necessarily abstracted accounts of their institutional developments.89 Only when this has been done across all the frontiers represented at this conference will we be able to say just how far the modernization paradigm mentioned at the beginning is a valid measure of any country's medieval kingship.

88 For the historical and sociological background to this see Fritz K. Ringer, The Decline of the German Mandarins. The German Academic Community 18901933 (Cambridge, Mass., 1969) with the review by Jtirgen Habermas, Minerva, IX, 3 ( 1971), 422-8, and more recently Christian Simon, Staat und Geschichtswissenschaft in Deutsch/and und Frankreich, 1871-1914 (Berne, 1988) and Fritz K. Ringer, Fields of knowledge: French Academic Culture in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 257-65. There is a brief historiographical account in my Germany in the Early Middle Ages, pp. 8-13, and a fuller one in Hagen Keller, Zwischen regionaler Bedeutung und universalem Horizont: Deutsch/and im 'Zeitalter der Safier und Staufer 1024-1250 (Berlin, 1986). pp. 13-55. 89 See Werner, 'Kritische Wi.irdigung'. on the problems involved.


John Lowden Counauld Institute of An, London Frequent discussions at a popular level of high-pressure advertising and marketing techniques have made us all aware of the ability of the visual to create patterns of thinking, to prompt associative connections, to lead, to influence, to inform. In cultures and societies where there was significantly less exposure to the power of images than in our own, we may assume that visual stimuli had an even greater impact. In simple terms, we can say that with less to look at and more time to look, the visual was even more potent. But, and this is crucial, •

In revising this paper for publication I have had the benefit of the questions and comments that make a conference so valuable, and of having heard the other contributions. Andrew Hughes, Jinty Nelson, and Thomas Zotz were particularly helpful in conversation. Subsequently, Richard Gameson and Rosamond McKitterick very kindly read it in its unrevised form, and offered many useful suggestions, most of which I have been able to take account of. I am especially grateful to both of them. It seemed inappropriate, however, to remove traces of the direct appeal to the viewer/listener/reader, or to alter the scope of the material which it seemed possible to consider in the time available. It remains a piece d'occasion. In annotating, I have limited the references so as to focus on those recent or standard publications that will most helpfully take the reader further. My thanks go also to the Warburg Institute, for the library that makes papers like this possible; at the Courtauld Institute, to the Conway Library, for its photographic resources, and to the slide and photographic departments, for making the lecture an illustrated one; and finally to the institutions that supplied the photographs for publication with permission to reproduce them here.


John Lowden

the visual was and is never restricted to images in the narrow sense of 'pictures'. All aspects of what is or was perceived visually are relevant. There is hardly a facet of medieval culture which does not have a strong visual element, and in the study of kings and kingship the visual is of central importance. Through architecture-the building of churches, monasteries, palaces, towns, fortifications, roads, bridges, and monuments, and where appropriate their decoration in mosaic and fresco, and furnishing in all types of media-through sumptuary laws, through ceremonial and ritual, through charters, seals, and coins, and in numerous other ways, medieval rulers sought to make the visual work for them by fostering a particular perception of royal or imperial power. The vast art-historical bibliography on these topics is an indicator of their perceived significance, but it is also a product of the modem development of our subject (more even than the historical origins of the material), in German-speaking countries at a time when issues of Reich and Konigtum were of particular relevance. This paper focuses on some aspects of a subject which might have been better dealt with in a large book. It has been necessary to be highly selective in approach, and I have chosen to range widely across time and space. From this it will be understood, I hope, that I do not intend to play for safety, but to raise questions, and to open up debate on a number of broad issues as well as particularities. I am well aware of the dangers of such a course, but it seemed appropriate for the present context. Before turning to the books themselves, however, there are a number of preliminaries that need to be dealt with. The royal or imperial book as a distinct and definable genus is largely a modem construct, albeit one that is familiar from the literature. It will be convenient for the purposes of discussion to accept this construct initially, and to treat the material under three broad headings. The first involves the most obvious, and it would seem least problematic category: books with images of rulers. The second includes books connected with rulers for good reasons, but not proclaiming this on their pages in conspicuous visual form. The third focuses on books which we might consider to be royal or imperial on the basis of their materials, namely the codices purpurei. At the end

The Royal/Imperial Book


we can question the categorization itself. There is also an issue of terminology which needs to be settled at the start. Throughout I choose to refer to the unspecific 'ruler image' as a useful equivalent to the German Herrscherbild. Unfortunately, English has no suitable adjectival form for 'ruler', and I therefore find myself having to use the awkward formulations 'royal/imperial', and occasionally 'King/Emperor'. These are meant only in a loose sense, and are not intended to evoke images of the Indian subcontinent. Because the issues of who made these books, and for what audience, are crucial, and often insufficiently nuanced, I thought it might also be helpful to construct a diagram of the sort familiar to medievalists (fig. 5). This can provide an initial focus for discussion.

Fig. 5: Production and Destination of the RoyaVImperial Book (diagram: author).


John Lowden

At the centre is the ruler (Rex). Around him (or her) is the palace and court (Palatium). Outside in the next sphere is the kingdom (Regnum). And beyond that the wide world (Mundus). Although the boundaries are fixed in our schema, they can be conceived of as flexible, allowing for physical and historical movement, as the ruler travels, or the borders of the kingdom change, for example. A royal/imperial manuscript (Liber), within the structure of this diagram, can be seen to have followed a variety of different paths, indicated by the arrows. It could be produced by the ruler for his own personal use, or for use in the palace/court, or for use elsewhere in the realm, or for use beyond its borders. Working in the opposite direction, a book could be destined for the ruler from outside his lands, from within his realm, or from within the palace/court. In any of these situations, or many others that we could envisage, the book in question could legitimately be termed royal/imperial, but we might expect its images, or better its visual argument, to be adapted to make different points given such differing circumstances. The schema too, like the concept of the 'royal/imperial book', will be the subject of reconsideration at the conclusion of the paper. I. Royal/Imperial Books with Images of Rulers

We can start with one of the best-known medieval ruler images (pl. 1), which will raise a number of questions that can then be pursued further in other manuscripts. The image is in the Bible, Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale MS lat. I, and shows the offering of a huge book to an enthroned ruler.I We know from the lengthy poems on fols lr-2v I

On Paris, lat.l, see Wilhelm Kohler (and Florentine Mtitherich), Die karoLingischen Miniaturen, 5 vols + 5 vols plates, Denkmaler Deutscher Kunst (Berlin, 1933-82), I, part l, Die Schule von Tours. Die Omamentik, pp. 23841, 250-5, 396-401; I, part 2, Die Bilder, pp. 27-64, 220-31; plates 69-89. Percy Ernst Schramm, Florentine Miitherich, Denk.male der deutschen Konige und Kaiser, Veroffentlichungen des Zentralinstituts fur Kunstgeschichte in Mtinchen, 2 (Munich, 1962), pp. 129-30, cat. no. 42. Herbert L. Kessler, The lllustrated Bibles from Tours, Studies in Manuscript illumination, 7 (Princeton, 1977). Metz enluminee, Autour de la Bible de Charles le Chauve, tresors manuscrits des eglises messines, pref. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (Metz, 1989), pp. 138-9, cat. no. I, col. plates A-F.

The RoyaVlmperial Book


(200 verses), fol. 329r (before the New Testament: 30 verses), and fols 422r-v (at the end: 44 and 42 verses), that this magnificent Bible was made at St Martin at Tours under the direction of its lay abbot Vivian for presentation to Charles the Bald (hence its common designation as the Vivian Bible, or First Bible of Charles the Bald).2 It must date from between 844 and 851, Vivian's appointment and his death. Kohler argued for 846, and proposed that the book was a thank offering for the renewing of the monastery's immunity that is recorded in a document from Charles of 27 December 845. 3 He further argued, less cogently in my view, that the image recorded the ceremonial presentation of the book, and was therefore, in his terms, the earliest representation of a contemporary historical event in northern art.4 The image on fol.423r shows within a classicizing frame the enthroned Charles, flanked by courtiers and guards, turning his head and stretching out a hand to receive the closed book (i.e. this book), as it is proffered by three monks. Further ecclesiastics appear by their gestures and expressions to be reciting the poem on the facing page (fol. 422v),5 and an isolated figure at the right, between the courtly and monastic zones, may be intended to represent Vivian. 6 In the context of this paper I want to draw attention to some general questions. The first is broadly one of method. Why do we always see fol. 423r reproduced in isolation, never alongside fol. 422v? 7 The medieval book was designed and viewed an opening at a time. To 2

Texts of verses in Poetae Latini Aevi Carolini. edited by Ludwig Traube, MGH, Poet. Lat., III (Berlin. 1896). 243-51. 3 Kohler. Die karolingischen Miniaturen, II I. 238-41. 4 Ibid., Ill. 239. 5 Here I differ from David Ganz, 'Pando quod lgnoro: In Search of Carolingian Artistic Experience'. in Intellectual Life in the Middle Ages (Festchrift Margaret Gibson). edited by Lesley Smith and Benedicta Ward (London, 1992). pp. 25-32. at p. 27: 'but the verses address the king. they do not treat of the illustration·. 6 Kohler. Die karolingischen Miniaturen, 1/2, 228; but see also Kessler, Bibles from Tours. pp. 126-7. 7 Even in his monumental publication. Kohler, Die karo/ingischen Miniaturen, provided no illustration of fol. 422v.


John Lowden

break this unity in reproducing the objects we study is only slightly less misguided than trying to understand the pictures without having recourse to their accompanying texts. We must abandon the ingrained habit of focusing on (and providing illustrations of) single pages.s The second question is codicological, and involves the location of this image. Why is it at the end of the book, rather than at the start, which would certainly have been a position of higher status? The poems and full-page miniatures of the Bible are on separate leaves,9 and hence could be conharsidered afterthoughts. But it cannot be argued that they were misplaced, for the content of the verses at the various divisions of the book would be inappropriate were they moved, and the image on fol. 423r must always have been intended to face fol. 422v. The issue must then remain open. The third question is broadly historical. Since this is an image of a ruler made for presentation to him, all deductions from it about Carolingian attitudes to kingship are seen through a distorting filter, but how are we going to define, let alone remove, those distortions? Perhaps the schema (fig. 5) can help to clarify the issues here. In 846 (let us say), Paris lat. l was certainly going to the King, not being sent out from him. But uncertainty as to the precise extent of the involvement of Vivian, on the one hand, and the community of St Martin, on the other, complicates matters. In terms of the diagram, Vivian we might consider to have belonged to the palatium sphere, whereas his abbey was further from the ruler, in the regnum sphere. So where exactly was the book coming from? Who was it that made the crucial decisions about the dedication image: where it was located, exactly whom it showed, and in what relationship? These questions take us to the heart of the most recent discussion of the

8 As a result it will often be necessary to purchase two prints instead of one, when a new photograph of an opening cannot be made, and to argue each case with the designers of books and journals, who prefer to deal with the vertical format of a photo of a single page to the horizontal format of an opening. Cf. Helene Toubert, 'L'illustration en pleine page', in Mise en page et mise en texte du livre manuscrit, edited by Henri-Jean Martin and Jean Vezin (Paris, 1990), pp. 361-5, at p. 365, and fig. 346. See also n. 27 below. 9 Kohler, Die karolingischen Miniaturen, 1/1, 399.

The RoyaVImperialBook


image, that by Kessler,IO in which we are presented with a subtle reading in terms of the power politics between the abbey, Vivian, and Charles. But consideration of the page as a ruler image must also move in other directions. It is assumed on the basis of strong later tradition that Charles presented this very manuscript to the cathedral of Metz on his coronation there on 8 September 869 . 11 Looking again at the diagram (fig. 5), the book is now seen to set off on another journey, going out in this case from the ruler into his kingdom. The same ruler image (pl. 1) will now be making different points, and will be viewed in a different way by a different audience. Instead of a statement by a courtier and monastery to Charles about his kingship, we are presented with a statement by Charles to the Bishop and clergy of Metz about his role as ruler of Lotharingia. We might even go so far as to guess (we could of course be wrong), that Charles's decision to present to Metz this particular Bible together with the Psalter, now Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS lat.1152, 12 was in part motivated by the conspicuous ruler images that both manuscripts contain. These images could be seen as somehow promoting Charles's claims to dominion over Lothar II's kingdom, claims recognized in a different way in the coronation ceremony. Yet the Bible and Psalter of Charles the Bald did not remain in Metz, and even the story of their transfer to Paris casts a curious afterglow on our topic. They were acquired in 1674 and 1675 by Jean-Baptiste Colbert.13 He first went after the Psalter, known to the canons of Metz as the 'Livre d'Heures de Charlemagne', for which Herbert L. Kessler, •A Lay Abbot as Patron: Count Vivian and the First Bible of Charles the Bald', Studi medievali, XXXIX (1991), in press. The paper was delivered as a Frank Davis Memorial Lecture at the Courtauld Institute in November, 1991. I am most grateful to the author for supplying a copy of the proof. I I In general, see Janet L. Nelson, Charles the Bald (London, 1992). 12 Wilhelm Kohler, Florentine Miitherich, Die karolingischen Miniaturen, V, Die Hofschule Karls des Kah/en (Berlin, 1982), pp. 132-43; plates 26-31. Ruler image on pl. 26a. 13 Philippe Hoch, 'La Colbertine et la Bibliotheque Nationale, refuges des plus beaux manuscrits messins'. in Metz enluminee, pp. 125-33, at pp. 127-9. 10


John Lowden

he gave them in exchange a large portrait of Louis XIV.14 They also parted with the 'Bible de Charlemagne', as they called it, but then began to regret not having driven a harder bargain, and Colbert sought to mollify them with a very costly silver cross, weighing 29 marks. Colbert's manuscripts were themselves acquired for the Bibliotheque du Roi in 1732, 15and thus the Bible once more travelled back to the rex sphere of our diagram. The history of Paris lat. l after its original presentation raises a further general point. The verses that accompanied the ruler image have to be read in their entirety to be understood, and allow little scope for 'interpretation'. It is comparatively easy, if one is so minded, to overlook them completely. But the image is striking, and instantly accessible to the viewer. It remains potent after many centuries, is open to a wide variety of speculative 'readings', and has no exclusive 'meaning'. Consideration of Paris lat. l leads naturally to a manuscript closely related to it in a variety of ways, the Gospel Book, Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS lat. 266 (pl. 2), considered by Kohler the high point of Carolingian book illumination.16 On the basis of the poem on fol. 2r, 17 we know that this manuscript was also made at St Martin at Tours, in this case on the command of Lothar, the elder half-brother of Charles the Bald. It must have been written within a very few years of the Bible, probably during Lothar's rapprochement with Charles in 849-51. 18 Kohler further argued that the artist of some of the Bible's full-page miniatures, including the Presentation scene (his Maler C), was also the sole artist of the Gospels.19 The dedicatory verses of the Gospel Book make some of the same 14

Perhaps identifiable with a portrait of Louis XIV attributed to Le Brun in the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Metz (inv. no. 11442): Hoch, 'La Colbertine', p. 133, n. 16. 15 Hoch, 'La Colbertine', p. 129. 16 Kohler, Die karo/ingischen Miniaturen, 1/1, 241-3, 260-9; 1/2, 71-85; plates 98-105; Schramm and Miltherich, Denkmale, p. 123, cat. no. 25. 7 1 MGH, Poet. Lat., II, edited by Ernest DuemmJer (Berlin, 1884), 670-1, no. XXV. 18 Kohler, Die karo/ingischen Miniaturen, 1/1, 241-3. 19 Ibid .• 1/2, 71.

The Royal/lmperial Book


points about power and rulership as those of the Bible. 20 Indeed, the author(s) of the verses were not above recycling some of the material, changing the order slightly, and adapting it to the different verse form: Paris /at. 1, onfol. 422v (Addressed to Charles the Bald, 846[?}) Ut valeat vigeat vivat per saecula felix Utatur pace prosperitate fruens Regnum habeat teneat dilatet fulciat ornet. 21

Paris /at. 266, on fol. 2r (Addressed to Lothar, 849-51 [?]) Imperium ut teneat dilatet firmet adunet Utatur bene pace fruens et prosperitate Ac valeat vigeat vivat per saecula felix.22

Nonetheless, a clear difference in stated motivation appears from the texts. The Bible, we are told, was made to please Charles (p/aceat),23 and to honour him (g/oria, /aus, honor, etc.).24 The Gospel Book, on the other hand, was made as a votive offering by Lothar. The verses conclude: Pictus habetur ob hoe necnon rex pagina in ista Ut quisquis vultum Augusti hie conspexerit umquam Supplex ipse deo dicat Jaus cuncti potenti: Lotharius requiem mereatur habere perennem

° For the view that the texts are not about the miniatures, see Ganz, 'Pando',


21 22 23 24

pp. 26-7. MGH, Poet. Lat., III, 251, lines 39-41. Ibid., II, 671, lines 7-9. Ibid., III, 243, no. III. I, line I. Ibid. III, 250, no. X, line 3. This must be an intentional echo of the famous Palm Sunday hymn, with its reference to Christ as rex: 'Gloria Jaus et honor tibi sit, rex Christe, redemptor'. MGH, Poet. Lat., I, 558-9. Josef Szoverffy, Die Annalen der lateinischen Hymnendichtung, 2 vols (Berlin, 1964-65), I, 202-3.


John Lowden Per dominum nostrum Chris tum qui regnat ubique. 25

'On that account the king is also depicted on this facing page, that whosoever at any time shall look upon the face of the Emperor here may say as a humble petitioner, Praise to Almighty God; may Lothar be worthy to receive eternal rest through our Lord Christ who reigns everywhere. '26

Here, even more forcefully than in the centrally-planned composition of the Bible, we are confronted by an image of a ruler that is meaningless, even in visual terms, without the facing page of text (pl. 2). (Yet how often do we see these pages reproduced as an opening?)27 Lothar turns, looks, and gestures at the invocation. The relationship between the image and the text could not be clearer. But what of the relationship between the image, the ruler, and the intended audience? For this we can consider the schema once more (fig. 5). In its terms we can see the King/Emperor commissioning a book outside the palatium sphere for use in the place of its production. Yet having set up a comparison with Paris lat.1, we now need to go further and ask: What is the relationship of the ruler image in the Gospel Book to that in the Bible, given their manifest similarities, even down to the use of the same diadem for both rulers (plates 1-2)? To what extent are their similarities and differences explained by the assumption that they are the work of the same artist, certainly products of the same centre of production? Was Lothar's manuscript conceived of by him as an attempt to outdo Charles on the latter's home territory, in effect to win temporal as well as divine favour, by presentation of this superb book, written entirely in gold, to St Martin? The image of Lothar cannot then be understood without recourse to that of Charles. Ibid., II, 671, lines 23-7. 26 Somewhat modified from the translation in Donald Bullough, 'Imagines Re gum and their significance in the Early Medieval West', in Studies in Memory of David Talbot Rice, edited by Giles Robertson and George Henderson (Edinburgh, 1975), pp. 223-76, at p. 223. 27 Not illustrated in Kohler, Die karolingischen Miniaturen. An honourable exception is Helene Toubert, 'La double page illustree', in Mise en page, pp. 377- 7, at p. 373, and fig. 354. 25

The RoyaV/mperial Book


The introduction of a third related manuscript into the discussion adds a further layer of complexity and uncertainty. The manuscript is a Psalter, now London, British Library Additional MS 37768, like the Gospel Book also written entirely in gold.28 In artistic terms, however, this is a much poorer effort than the Gospels, and in material terms the parchment is of surprisingly poor quality: greyish, thick, and unevenly prepared. Yet it resembles the Gospels in pairing a dedicatory poem on fol. 3v ,29 with a ruler image of Lothar across the opening on fol. 4r (pl. 3). It must also be close in date, because of its reference to the Byzantine embassy to Lothar of 842.30 Kohler used the Psalter' s decoration as the linchpin for a 'palace school' of manuscript production located at Aachen, 31 while acknowledging that its miniatures are problematic, since they are almost without parallel in Carolingian illumination.32 On fol. 2v, there is a prayer by a sister or, more probably, a daughter of Lothar, which mentions various members of the imperial family.33 The prayer cannot long post-date the making of the book, and shows the manuscript to have then been in the possession of a royal lady in a religious house. This raises the possibility that although made within the rex/palatium spheres of our diagram (fig. 5), the manuscript was not destined for Lothar himself, but from the start for a close relative. And although initially used, perhaps, within the palatium, it was quite soon out in the regnum sphere, albeit still in a special relationship to the palatium. The ruler image is very different from that in the Lothar Gospels. The artist responsible for this book presumably had no knowledge of the Gospel Book at Tours (or vice versa). Here we have to be careful to distinguish between our modern ideas about the availability of images, based on the circulation of reproductions, and the situation in 28 Wilhelm Kohler and Florentine Miitherich, Die karolingischen Miniaturen, IV, Die Hofschule Kaiser Lothars. Einzelhandschriften aus Lotharingien, (Berlin, 1971), pp. 11-12, 35-46, plates 1-7. 29 MGH, Poet. Lat., VI, 63. 30 Kohler and Mtitherich, Die karolingischen Miniaturen, IV, 12. 31 Ibid., IV, 30-3. 32 Ibid., IV, 21-2. 33 Ibid., IV, 36-7.


John Lowden

the ninth century. The ruler image of the Psalter has more to do with traditional associations, appropriate to that book, between a contemporary ruler and his biblical prototype in David. Indeed the opening of the verses that accompany the David image, on the next opening, fols 4v-5r, would presumably have had specific political overtones for Lothar, or a member of his immediate family: Rex fuit eximius, de multis fratribus unum Quern deus elegit, regnandi ut sceptra teneret.34 'He was the chosen King. the one whom God selected from many brothers to hold the sceptres of rule.·

A puzzling sidelight on this book's history, relevant to the present discussion, is provided by its cover (pl. 4). This has a profile repousse head in a medallion in the centre of a cross on the front.35 This is generally thought not to represent Lothar, but to be an eleventhcentury restoration, depicting a contemporary emperor, perhaps Henry II according to Steenbock,36 or Henry III according to Schramm.3 7 The manuscript is said to have been stolen from the monastery of Saint-Hubert, at Andain in the Ardennes, in 1010, and it is implied that it was at this time that it lost its original cover, later to be restored.JS An obvious problem with this hypothesis is why a visual statement about Henry II or III should have been made on the cover of a book then outside the imperial orbit, and in any case associated with Lothar. If we pursue the point further, the situation becomes more interesting, if less clear. There is no evidence that the Psalter was stolen in 1010. What the source, the Chronicle of Saint-Hubert, 39 recounts is 34 MGH, Poet. Lat., VI, 164, no. II, lines 1-2. 35 Frauke Steenbock, Die kirchliche Prachteinband im fruhen Mittelalter, von dem Anfiingen bis zum Beginn der Gotik, Jahresgabe der Deutschen Vereins Kunstwissenschaft (Berlin, 1965), pp. 156-7; Schramm and Miltherich, Denkmale, p. 124, cat. no. 27. 36 Ibid., pp. 156- 7, cat. no. 64. 37 Schramm and Mtitherich, Denkmale, p. 124, cat. no. 27. 38 Ibid., p. 124; Steenbock, Die kirchliche Prachteinband, pp. 156-7. 39 Karl Hanquet, La Chronique de Saint-Hubert dite Cantatorium, (Brussels,

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that many of the treasures of the monastery were dispersed or disappeared at about this time, including: 'Ipsum auro scriptum Psalterium, quod Ludouici imperatoris fuerat proprium, eius imaginem in principio insignitum. •40

The Chronicle goes on to narrate how the Psalter was bought at Toul by the mother of the future Pope Leo IX (b. 1002), to help him with his reading. Despite the fact that young Bruno could read and remember his lessons well when he used any other Psalter, 41 with this manuscript he could scarcely read or recall anything. (This was the Holy Spirit's device to protect him from sacrilegious contact.) His mother duly heard a rumour that the Psalter belonged to SaintHubert, and returned it, receiving a sacramentary as reward. There is no mention of damage to or restoration of the binding, although both are easy to imagine in the circumstances related in this short edifying account. The anonymous author of the Chronicle, writing at Saint-Hubert at the end of the eleventh century, was generally well informed. That he refers to the Psalter here, and on another occasion, 42 as the gift of Louis the Pious, chief early benefactor of Saint-Hubert, shows that its connections with Lothar (to say nothing of his presumed daughter) had been forgotten in the monastic community. To put it slightly differently, the ruler image had remained significant, whereas the accompanying verses, with their explicit but inconvenient reference to Lothar, 4 3 had come to be overlooked. Furthermore, the chronicler 1906). See also Pierre-Paul Brucker, L'Alsace et l'eglise au temps du Pape Saint Leon IX, 2 vols (Strasbourg/Paris, 1889), esp. I, 21. Generally, see Godefroid Kurth, 'Les premiers siecles de l'abbaye de Saint-Hubert', Compte rendu des seances de la commission royale d'histoire [Brussels], 5th ser., VIII (1898), 7-112. 4 0 Hanquet, La Chronique de Saint-Hubert, p. 52, lines 7-8. 41 Bruno is said to have been enrolled by his mother with Bishop Bertold of Toul for his education at the age of five, i.e. in I007: Brucker, L 'Alsace, I, 21. Presumably the date of • 1010' was based on a guess that Bruno might have been eight when the events took place. 4 2 Hanquet, La Chronique de Saint-Hubert, pp. 8-9, esp. p. 9, lines 8-10. 43 MGH, Poet. Lat., VI, 163.


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makes no mention of Henry II or III in this context. It is thus most probable that the book's present front cover is a restoration of the early eleventh century, made probably at Saint-Hubert after the book's recovery, perhaps as a pastiche of the lost original. The medallion bust was very likely associated in the craftsman's mind with the name of Louis, not Lothar. In any case, the intention was to proclaim the book's ancient imperial pedigree, one which the monks had partly constructed, and of which they were proud. In terms of the schema ( fig. 5), the restoration of the cover was intended to indicate that the book had come directly and personally from the ruler at the centre. 2. Royal/Imperial Books Without Images of Rulers

The Lothar Psalter and its problematic cover provide a link to our second section, which concerns manuscripts without ruler images, but with accepted royal/imperial connections. We will look first at another Psalter: London, British Library, Egerton MS 1139. Buchthal argued on the basis of the calendar, obits, and prayers, that this manuscript was made in Jerusalem between 1131 and 1143 for Queen Melisende, daughter of King Baldwin, and wife of Fulk of Anjou (that is to say, King Fulk).44 The illustration of this book consists of a cycle of full-page frontispiece miniatures with scenes from the life of Christ, ending with a Deesis; major decorative pages to the eight-part Psalter division; and nine smaller images of saints prefacing some of the prayers. 4 5 Although this is a book of the highest quality, there is nothing about the decoration of its pages to point explicitly to royal/imperial connections. This is where the surviving ivory covers seem to me crucial (pl. 5). 46 Of course Buchthal knew of these, 47 but he chose not to dis44 Hugo Buchthal, Miniature Painting in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (Oxford, 1957), pp. 1-14. On the circumstances of Melisende's succession, see Hans Eberhard Mayer. 'The Succession to Baldwin II of Jerusalem: English Impact on the East', Dumbarton Oaks Papers, XXXIX (1985), I 39--47. 45 Buchthal, Miniature Painting, plates I- I 9. 46 O.M. Dalton, Catalogue of the Ivory Carvings of the Christian Era, London, British Museum. Department of British and Medieval Antiquities and

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cuss them since he had defined his subject as miniature painting. In its tum, this decision has had significant repercussions for the study of art in the crusader kingdom. 48 The front cover has six scenes from the life of David arranged in medallions, and surrounded by virtues and vices. 4 9 The back cover has a similar layout with six illustrations to Mt. 25: 35-6, surrounded by birds and beasts (pl. 5): 'I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; naked and you clothed me; sick and you visited me; in prison and you came to me.· 50

The words are those of Christ, but the actions they describe are those of the good Christian, who performs them not knowing it is Christ to whom he is charitable. A special resonance is given to the images by depicting the good Christian as a King or Emperor. Although at first glance we seem to be shown the same figure repeated six times, we see on closer examination six different varieties of imperial Byzantine costume.5 1 Whether this is meant to make the ruler image more specific or more generalized is unclear to me. Now because these are the covers of a Psalter, the many-layered connections that can be drawn between King David, the Beatus vir of Ps. 1: 1, the acts of charity, Christ as ruler, and a contemporary king, are ones that would certainly have been made at the time. But the

47 48


50 51

Ethnography (London: British Museum. 1909). pp. 22-6, cat. nos 28-9. Steenbock, Die kirch/iche Prachteinband, pp. 186-8, cat. no. 90, figs 124-5. Buchthal, Miniature Painting. p. 139. The ivories were completely overlooked in surveys such as A History of the Crusades, IV. The Art and Architecture of the Crusader States, edited by Harry W. Hazard (Madison, 1977). Steenbock, Die kirch/iche Prachteinband, fig. 125. The Vulgate text is slightly abbreviated in the inscriptions. Ioannis Spatharakis, The Portrait in Byzantine Illuminated Manuscripts, Byzantina Neerlandica, 6 (Leiden, I 976), pp. 263-5, on the terminology, with further references. On the regalia of the kings of Jerusalem, see Hans Eberhard Mayer. 'Das Pontifikale von Tyrus und die Kronung der lateinischen Konige von Jerusalem', Dumbarton Oaks Papers, XXI (1967), 14132, at pp. 176-8 (on the robes).


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connections take on further levels of significance in view of the specific circumstances in which it is thought the book was made. A twelfth-century king in Jerusalem was a successor to David, and a precursor of the ruler of the Heavenly Jerusalem, in a precise way that no other medieval ruler could paralleJ.52And as was pointed out long ago, we seem to see an explicit, albeit ingenious, reference to King Fulk in the bird conspicuously labelled Herodius at the top centre of the back cover (pl. 5), for the biblical Herodius was equated to the fulica of the Physiologus/Bestiary tradition, which could be a rebus for Fulk.53 In terms of our diagram (fig. 5), the Psalter seems to have been made in Jerusalem on the border of the rexlpalatium sphere, for use at its centre by the rex, or in this case the regina. Nothing like its covers has survived, but presumably they were also made in Jerusalem under similar circumstances. Internal evidence suggests the book was ordered by Melisende for her own use. We could thus advance the hypothesis that the Queen did not need to make visual points about herself to herself. A point about her husband on the cover was, however, perfectly appropriate. We can explore the possibility that books made at royal command for use in a royal context did not require images of rulers by looking at a pair of manuscripts better known for their ivory covers than for their content, although this is, as we shall see, crucial to their appearance. The manuscripts are Bamberg, Staatliche Bibliothek, MSS lit. 7 and lit. 8 (plates 6-7).5 4 These two cantatoria,55 sometimes called 52 Mayer, 'Das Pontifikale von Tyrus', pp. 151-2. 53

Dalton, Catalogue of the Ivory Carvings, p. 26. Alternatively the significance of Herodius remains mysterious. 54 Friedrich Leitschuh and Hans Fischer, Katalog der Handschriften der koniglichen Bibliothek zu Bamberg, 2 vols (Bamberg, 1895-1906), I, 147-50; Adolph Goldschmidt and Kurt Weitzmann, Die byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen des X.-X/1/. Jahrhunderts, 2 vols (Berlin, 1934), II, 44-45, cat. nos 65-6; Kurt Weitzmann, 'Die byzantinischen Elfenbeine eines Bamberger Graduate und ihre urspriingliche Verwendung', in Studien zur Buchmalerei und Goldschmiedekunst des Mittelalters (Festchrift K. H. Usener), edited by Frieda Dettweiler, Herbert Koiner, and Peter Anselm Riedl (Marburg an der Lahn, 1967), pp. 11-20; Kurt Weitzmann, •An Ivory Diptych of the Romanos

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graduals, are slim volumes of 79 and 63 folios respectively, with an unusual tall narrow format, about 28 x 11 cm. Each page of the two books is cut in a semicircle at the top, with narrow shoulders. Both were certainly made to fit the two pairs of tenth-century Byzantine ivories that still adorn them. In the litany for the Easter Mass at the end of Bamberg, SB Lit. 7 (fols 76v-77r), we find invocations for the Emperor Henry (Henry 11),and Queen Kunigund: Heinrico a deo coronato magno et pacifico imperatori uita et uictoria. Chunigundae reginae salus et uita.56

On this basis and their Bamberg provenance, it is accepted that both were made for presentation to and use in the cathedral of Bamberg, Henry's great foundation, dedicated in 1012.57 In reusing ivory diptychs as the covers for very tall narrow liturgical books, specifically cantatoria, Henry and Kunigund were following a Carolingian precedent. 58For example, the ninth-century Monza cantatorium (Monza, Tesoro del Duomo, MS CIX), written in gold and silver on purple parchment, measures 34.5 x 11 cm,59 and reuses an early sixth-century consular diptych for its covers.60 In this case


56 57 58 59


Group in the Hermitage', in his Byzantine Book Illumination and Ivories (London, 1980), VIII, pp. 1-11; Schramm and Mtitherich, Denkmale, II, 159, cat. no. 118; Steenbock, Die kirchliche Prachteinband, pp. 118-19, cat. nos 40-1, figs 58-9; Klaus Gamber, Codicef Liturgici Latini Antiquiores (= CLLA), Spicilegii Friburgensis Subsidia I, 2nd ed. (Freiburg, 1968), p. 502, no. 1316; and Supp/ementum (Freiburg, 1988), p. 128. On the terminology, see Gamber, CLLA, pp. 492-5, 500. Illustrated in Schramm and Mi.itherich,Denkmale, II, 340, cat. no. 118. In general, and especially on the later cult, see Klaus Guth, Die heiligen Heinrich und Kunigunde (Bamberg, 1986). For comparative material, see Gamber, CLLA, pp. 500-3, nos 1310-19. Note that the measurements given in different publications show a surprising variation. Richard Delbrueck, Die Consulardiptychen, Studien zur spatantiken Kunstgeschichten, 2 (Berlin/Leipzig, 1929), pp. 175-8, cat. no. 43; I/ tesoro de/ duomo di Monza, edited by L. Vitali (Milan, 1966), p. 36, plates 66-8; Steenbock, Die kirchliche Prachteinband, pp. 72-3, cat. no. 7, fig. 9; Gamber,


John Lowden

some recutting took place. The original inscriptions were removed, and the names of King David and St Gregory were inserted above the figures. The incipit of the text that the ivories now cover was incised into the field above Gregory's head: 'Gregorius presul meritis .. .' _61 But the Ottonian work is not 'explained' by the existence of precedents of this sort, although in typological terms they surely were significant. It requires further investigation on its own terms. A surprising feature of the two Bamberg manuscripts is that they duplicate a large part of each other's contents.62 Bamberg, SB Lit. 7 contains the prayers for Henry and Kunigund, but Lit. 8 is less carefully written, and on parchment of poorer quality. It has further been established by Hoffmann that whereas Lit. 7 was written by the chief scribe at the scriptorium at Seeon, and is dateable 1014-24, Lit. 8 was produced at Regensburg, between 1015-30. 63 This implies that Lit. 8 is in some senses an afterthought, or at the least that Lit. 7 is the more important manuscript. Yet Lit. 8 has the Virgin and Christ ivories (pl. 7), whereas Lit. 7 has only Peter and Paul on the covers (pl. 6). This appears at first as a reversal of precedence, for we would expect Christ and the Virgin to have been used first on the more carefully produced book. In this case, however, local concerns prevailed: Peter and Paul must have been given precedence because Bamberg cathedral was dedicated to them. Looking at the reused ivories more carefully reveals a further point (compare plates 6-7). The covers of Lit. 8 consist of a standing Virgin in a gesture of invocation, turning towards the frontal and blessing figure of Christ. The rectangular cuttings for hinges near the top and bottom of the inner edges of the two panels show that this was their original arrangement when they were combined as a diptych. Turning to Peter and Paul on Lit. 7, we can see at once from the cuttings, now on the outer edges of the two, that their positions have been reversed. Originally Paul would have been at the left, turning to CLL.A, p. 500, cat. no. 13 JO.

61 Cf. PL, LXXVIII, col. 636. 62 See Leitschuh and Fischer, Katalog der Handschriften, pp. 147-50. 6 3 H. Hoffmann, Buchkunst und Konigtum im ottonischen und friihsalischen

Reich, Schriften der MOH.30, I (Stuttgart, 1986), 281, 404--6.

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the right towards Peter, and paralleling the stance of the Virgin. The blessing Peter would have been at the right, where the close correspondence between his posture, gesture, and drapery, and those of Christ, would have been striking. The reversal of Peter and Paul is a much less conspicuous adaptation than the recutting of the Monza cantatorium ivories, but it can hardly have been accidental, and thus requires explanation. Although Paul, like Christ, is now in the position of greater status, i.e. on the front, when the book is closed, once opened it could be argued that Peter, on the left (i.e. on the right hand of Christ), is more favoured than Paul. If we compare the coronation image in Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, elm 4452, the Perikopenbuch of Henry 11,64 also made for presentation by the royal couple to Bamberg, perhaps in 1012, we see Peter to the left of Christ presenting Henry, while Paul at the right sponsors Kunigund. In the verses that face the image in Munich, elm 4452 (fols I v-2r), the saints are invoked in the order of the church's dedication: 'O Petre cum Paulo ... '. When Lit. 7 was held open by the cantor, therefore, the viewers would have seen the (reversed) Peter and Paul ivories in the relationship to each other that was expected at Bamberg. Building on this observation, it may be possible to go a little further. The Bamberg manuscripts, like the other cantatoria fitted to ivory diptychs, were sewn and finished with a special 'spineless' arrangement between the front and back covers. 65 Given that all the cantatoria have relatively few leaves, this arrangement enables them to be opened up flat with the diptych wings in close proximity to each other (as in plates 6-7, where the parchment is just visible between the ivories). I suspect that this sort of binding was specifically employed so that the diptychs could be displayed open, not just when in use, but more permanently if desired, perhaps on some sort of stand in proximity to an altar. At Bamberg, if this supposition is cor64 Good colour plate in Henry Mayr-Harting, Ottonian Book Illumination (London, 1991), I, pl. XXIV; further refs. in Schramm and Miitherich, Denkmale, pp. 156-7, cat. no. 110; Hoffmann, Buchkunst und Konigtum, pp. 332-3. 65 Cf. the superb colour plates of the 'St Gall Cantatorium' (St Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, MS 359), Johannes Duft and Rudolf Schnyder, Die Elfenbein-Einbiinde der Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen (Beuron, 1984), pp. 95-128.


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rect, it was anticipated that the 'normal' view of the ivories would be as diptychs: Peter and Paul together, the Virgin with Christ, almost denying that these were the covers of books at all. In terms of statements about royal/imperial power, we can advance the hypothesis that these two books did not need to proclaim explicitly Henry and Kunigund's involvement, because they were for display and use in the vast architectural context at Bamberg that Henry had created. Only a minimum of adaptation, but more than at first appears, was required to make the Byzantine ivories appropriate to their new function, and the idea seemed sufficiently good for two more or less identical books to be made. In this case, in terms of our schema (fig. 5), the recipient was in a special position where the rex, palatium, and regnum spheres all intersected. The donor was rex (with regina), but the books were made at different times, at two different places within the regnum, for use at a third, and employing material originally from the mundus far beyond the regnum's borders (i.e., from Constantinople). 66 Our schema can just about cope with such a situation, but we seem to be reaching the limits of its usefulness. Thus far we have seen text and image working closely together, and covers, where they exist, providing valuable evidence of royal/imperial connections. But of course the situation we encounter is not always so straightforward. Let us then consider a fourteenthcentury Gospel Book, written in gold, now Vienna, Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, MS 1182.67 Its royal connections are certain, al66 Barbara Schellewald, 'Die Ordnung einer Bilderwelt. Bilder und Bildpro-

gramme in Byzanz im 10. und 11. Jahrhundert', in Kaiserin Theophanu, edited by Anton von Euw and Peter Schreiner, 2 vols (Cologne, 1991), II. 41-62, at p. 41. 67 Ernst Trenkler, Das Evangeliar des Johannes von Troppau, Handschrift 1182 der Osterreichischen Nationalbib/iothek, (Klagenfurt/Vienna, 1948); Die Parler und der schone Sri/, 1350-1400. Europiiische Kunst unter den Luxemburgem, translated by Anton Legner, Ausstellung des Schniltgen-Museums in der Kunsthalle Koln, 3 vols (Cologne, 1978), II, 739; Amanda Simpson, The Connections between English and Bohemian Painting during the second half of the Fourteenth Century, Outstanding Theses from the Courtauld Institute of Art [1978), (New York/London, 1984), pp. 66-75.

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though not immediately striking. On the verso of the last page of John's Gospel (pl. 8), the following text is laid out in eleven alternating lines of blue and gold, twice the size of the twenty-two lines of script used in the preceding gospel text: 'Et ego Johannes de Oppauia [Opavaffroppau] presbiter, canonicus Brunnensis [Bmo], plebanus in Lantskrona [Landskron], hunc librum cum auro purissimo de penna scripsi, illuminaui, atque Deo cooperante compleui, in Anno Domini millesimo trecentesimo sexagesimo octauo.'

The page faces a full-page miniature (fols 190v-191r), a devotional image of Christ within an angel-filled mandorla, displaying the five wounds of the Crucifixion, and making visual contact with the viewer (pl. 8). The mandorla is flanked above by two angels holding symbols of the passion: cross, crown of thorns, nails (at the left); scourges, sponge, lance (at the right). Below a four-winged cherub blows a trumpet. The scene is witnessed by two saints kneeling and raising their hands in prayer-presumably the Virgin and John the Baptist. There is no immediate connection, except that of juxtaposition, between the text on the left and the image on the right. Johannes does not appear in the picture; and the text is construed as a statement, acknowledging divine assistance, but not as a prayer. Yet the quire structure shows that this is the only possible arrangement of the two pages. 68 The situation is very different from the close relationship of text and image found in the Carolingian books considered earlier, but it cannot be dismissed as the result of poor planning, or later interference. This is what Johannes wanted and expected us to read and see. If we turn back through the four gospels we find that Johannes, true to his word, had written the entire text in gold and supplied many historiated initials. 69 He had also provided each gospel with a decorative opening: a full-page miniature on the verso, facing a fully decorated page for the incipit. The full-page miniatures were all treated in the same highly unusual way-the field was subdivided 68 Trenkler, Das Evangeliar des Johannes von Troppau, p. 47. 69

Ibid., plates I-XIV.


John Lowden

into twelve quite small panels, in each of which is a scene from the life of the evangelist, based on the Legenda aurea.1° But Johannes did arrange the scenes so as to have in each case a small-scale evangelist portrait as one of the four scenes in the right column. On each comer of the four miniatures Johannes painted the same four coats of arms, not without minor inconsistencies,? 1 reading clockwise those of Austria, Steiermark, Tirol, and Carynthia (Kamten).7 2 Given the date of completion of the manuscript, 1368, recorded in Johannes's colophon, these shields point to only a single person: Albrecht III ruler of Austria and solely or jointly of the provinces in question. Hence the manuscript can be termed the Gospels of Albrecht III. But this is not without problems. Why is Albrecht not mentioned in Johannes's colophon? Why does he not appear in the devotional image, or elsewhere in the illustration? We need not doubt that the manuscript went to Albrecht; but was it made for him? If so who paid for it? Not Johannes de Oppavia, the scribe and illuminator, we can assume, for it was a very lavish production. Schmidt proposed that the book was commissioned by Albrecht himself as a Coronation Gospels, replete with Herrschaftssymbol.1 3 Alternatively, it has been argued by Trenkler and others that the manuscript was in some sense a product of the cultural diplomacy of Charles IV's chancellor, Johannes von Neumarkt (Jan of Streda), 74 with whom Johannes de Oppavia seems to have been in touch. 75 But in either case the reticence of the book itself is puzzling, and the argument appears to rest on subtle visual comparisons (of the sort especially favoured by art his70

Gerhard Schmidt, 'Johann von Troppau und die vorromanische Buchmalerei. Vom ideellen Wert alterttimlicher Formen in der Kunst des vierzehnten Jahrhunderts', in Studien zur Buchmalerei und Goldschmiedekunst des Mitte/alters (Festchrift K.H. Usener), (Marburg an der Lahn, 1967), pp. 275-92. 71 E.g., the reversal of the positions of Austria and Steiermark on fol. Iv. 72 Trenkler, Das Evangeliar des Johannes von Troppau, pp. 8-9; plates I, III, V,

vn. 73 74 75

Schmidt, 'Johann von Troppau', p. 287. Trenkler, Das Evangeliar des Johannes von Troppau, pp. 37-46, 67-8, n. 44. Josef Krasa, in Die Parler und der schone Stil, II, 731-2. Trenkler, Das Evangeliar des Johannes von Troppau, pp. 25, 68, n. 53.

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torians). This brings us to the cover. The manuscript was rebound in 1446 by Frederick V (later the Emperor Frederick 111),who had written his amuletic motto AEIOU on fol. 1v in 1444, and had it incised on the one surviving clasp of the cover. 76 From the fact that the manuscript was rebound, we can safely assume the loss of the original binding; more tricky is to propose a plausible explanation for that loss. The book was passed down in Albrecht's family, albeit in a complex fashion, 77 so we do not need to imagine the deliberate violence that might result from a theft (in contrast to BL, Add. MS 37768, discussed above). It is still in excellent condition, so we can set aside accidental damage, such as fire or flood. Most probable, in my view, given that the manuscript was written entirely in gold, is the assumption that its original cover was extremely costly and ostentatious. Were that the case, the likely motive for deliberately removing it would not have been to obscure whatever points it made about the circumstances of the book's origins and the image of Albrecht III as ruler, but to 'recycle' it, either to raise money, or to use its parts to embellish some other book or object, or both. Our judgment on the propriety of this action will depend on when it took place. If it was Frederick V who removed the original binding and restored the book in 1446, then his actions were not discreditable. But if the cover had been removed at some earlier date, as is possible, and the book left without a binding until 1446, then the removal was an act of vandalism. Whatever the truth of this matter, it seems likely that it was not self-effacement which meant that the circumstances of this book's royal connections were not recorded on its pages (Johannes de Oppavia's colophon could not be more conspicuous), but ironically, if our guess is correct, the decision to make these points public and constantly visible by using the book's covers. In terms of the schema (fig. 5), Vienna, ONB 1182 seems at first to be going into the rex sphere of Albrecht III from Johannes de Oppavia in the regnum, on Albrecht's orders if we follow Schmidt.78 76 Ibid., pp. 12-14, pl. XVIII. 77 Ibid .. pp. 9- 1 I. 78 Schmidt, 'Johannes von Troppau', p. 287.


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But if the book was made at the instigation of Johannes von Neumarkt, then it was coming via the regnum from a palatium sphere, not that around Albrecht III, however, but one around Charles IV. How this might be interpreted diagrammatically would depend on our judgment of the extent of Albrecht's political subordination to Charles. The position is complex; the schema is now beginning to look like a serious oversimplification.

3. Were the Codices purpurei Royal/Imperial Books? That visual statements were not made just by images is central to the argument of this paper. And a discussion of royal/imperial books should not fail to consider, however briefly, the codices purpurei. The association of purpura with rulership is not in doubt, 79 and those manuscripts in which the parchment was dyed with purpura dyestuff must always have been highly distinctive. 80 Even a glimpse of any opening of such a book would at once have established it as different from any other type of manuscript. And given that gold or silver ink, or both, were used, in part for legibility on the dark surface, but largely, we may be sure, for reasons of conspicuous consumption, we seem to have a category that pre-selects itself for consideration as royal/imperial. And yet the evidence with which to pursue this line of argument is curiously unsatisfactory. The true codices purpurei of the Carolingian and later periods, and the much larger number of imitations, in which 'purple' was merely painted onto the surface of some or all of the leaves, were certainly made with some knowledge of the books of the early centuries, and so it is to them that we should tum. Among the sixteen surviving codices purpurei from the pre-Carolingian period, only one has been connected to a specific ruler. This is the Gospel Book in Gothic, now in Uppsala, and often linked, more or less cautiously, to 79 Gerhard Steigerwald, 'Das kaiserliche Purpurprivileg in spatromischer und

frilhbyzantinischer Zeit', Jahrbuch fiir Antike und Christentum, XXXIII (1990), 209-39. 80 A helpful starting point is Carl Nordenfalk, 'A Note on the Stockholm Codex Aureus'. Nordisk Tidskrift fiir Bok- och Biblioteksvosen, XXXVIII ( 1951), 145-55.

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the name of Theoderic. 81But bearing in mind our diagram (fig. 5), if we posit such a link we need to go further, and to consider the possible circumstances of commission and destination, even if this is to raise questions that we cannot answer. Was this book a gift to Theoderic from outside his palace? Or was it a gift from Theoderic to some Gothic church in his kingdom? Or was it an internal palatine commission, perhaps intended for use in the church we now know as S. Apollinare Nuovo at Ravenna?82 The Gothic Gospel Book, like most of the early codices purpurei, does not have any images, but even the three that do--the Rossano83 and Sinope Gospels,84 and the Vienna Genesis 85--do not make explicit imperial statements through their miniatures. Taken together with old theories about stylistic and iconographic 'schools', this has led to the widely held assumption that even the three illustrated books are not connected with some imperial centre, but works of the 'SyroPalestinian' area. 86 Yet even were we to propose that they have imperial connections, which seems to me perfectly plausible, given the paucity of comparative material at our disposal, we would still have to decide in terms of the schema (fig. 5), whether they were outbound from the emperor in Constantinople, inbound to him, or circulating within a palatine context. Even covers cannot help us here. The five-part ivory diptychs, like 8t Codex Argenteus Upsa/iensis, facsimile edition (Uppsala/Malmo, 1927), especially pp. 76-82; see the helpful introduction in Bruce M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, (Oxford, 1977), pp. 375-80. 82 Guglielmo Cavallo, 'La cultura a Ravenna tra Corte e Chiesa', in Le sedi de/la cultura nell' Emilia Romagna. L'alto Medioevo (Milan, 1983), pp. 2951, at p. 33. Friedrich Wilhelm Deichmann, Ravenna, Hauptstadt der spiitantiken Abendlandes, II, part 3 (Stuttgart, 1989), pp. 204-5. 83 Guglielmo Cavallo, Jean Gribomont, and William C. Loerke, Codex Purpureus Rossanensis, Codices Mirabiles, I; Codices Selecti, LXXXI and LXXXI* (Commentarium), (Rome/Salemo/Graz, 1987). 4 8 Andre Grabar, Les peintures de l'evangeliaire de Sinope, Bibliotheque nationale, Suppl. gr. I 286 (Paris, 1948). 85 Otto Maza!, Kommentar zur Wiener Genesis, Faksimile-Ausgabe der Codex theol. gr. 31 der osterreichischen Nationalbibliothek in Wien (Frankfurt, 1980). 86 See above, nn. 83, 85.


John Lowden

those reused on the Etchmiadzin Gospels, 87 might have been recycled from codices purpurei, but their imagery focuses consistently on Christ and the Virgin, not on an earthly ruler. And when we do have an explicit connection between a ruler and the covers of a luxury book, as in the magnificent volume presented by Queen Theodelinda to the church of St John the Baptist in Monza, prope pal[atium] suum as it says on the rear cover, 88 no record survives of what the book that once was inside was like. Thus the manuscripts that seem to us to proclaim themselves visually with the greatest boldness as royal/imperial books, are impossible to pin down to specific historical circumstances. Perhaps this is because, like some of the other books without ruler images, they were for use in contexts where such images could have been considered superfluous. Perhaps their materials alone made the point sufficiently impressively. Perhaps their covers did the job. Or perhaps this accumulation of negative evidence is significant. Maybe these books were not originally viewed as making points about earthly rulership at all. 89 Maybe they were conceived of as gifts to the divine ruler, Christ, and his saints in the heavenly court. What this implies in terms of the schema (fig. 5), is that we should now envisage a further set of spheres, or circles, including certainly rex and palatium, on a different plane. Books could be sent on a spiritual journey to these spheres, but could not be sent in the opposite direction (except in special cases like the Apocalypse). At the same time as making these journeys, however, the books always remained on the earthly plane in the place to which they had been presented. The position requires delicate handling, for in the early period the construction of a visual language for rulership involved a subtle interpenetration of ideas about the visible imperial court and ruler with those of its heavenly equivalents. We need to be careful in looking at the codices purpurei not to limit ourselves to hypotheses that permit only an either/or explanation. What does seem likely, however, is that 87

Steenbock, Die kirchliche Prachteinband, pp. 77-8, cat. no. 11, figs 16-17. 88 Ibid. pp. 78-80, cat. no. 12, figs 18-19. 89 The point has been made before, but I am particularly grateful to Richard Gameson for reminding me of it.

The Royal/Imperial Book


for the Carolingians, Ottonians, and others, for whom the use of purple and gold in books was important, it was ideas of earthly rulership that had become dominant. The early books survived, preserved often in church treasuries, but in Carolingian and later times they were viewed differently. Conclusion

In conclusion, we can ask how the concept of a distinctive type of book, here termed 'royal/imperial', is to be justified and defined. The range of books considered in this paper was, of necessity, highly selective. Let us then take a broader view. What would be the result if we cast the net as wide as possible in an attempt to include in our discussion every book that ever had anything to do with a ruler? As we drew in the net, many books would slip away unnoticed, because they have nothing about them to make apparent their royal/imperial connections. What we would be left with would be a much smaller catch in the form of a self-selected sub-group, consisting of only those books in which the role of the ruler was considered sufficiently significant for it to have been recorded in some way. It is the members of this sub-group, not the mass of material originally trawled, that can be categorized legitimately, in my view, as royal/imperial books. What defines the royal/imperial book is an awareness on the part of its makers and users of its royal/imperial connections, an awareness that is made patent by some visual device, and which can be noted and understood in later centuries. It follows that the more highly developed the interest in rulership of any particular individual, or culture, or society, the greater the likelihood that the possibilities of the royal/imperial book will be exploited. It is, therefore, no accident of survival that Carolingian and Ottonian material, for example, is so prominent. 90 In studying such books we have to be aware that they are unlike 90 See first Hoffmann, Buchkunst und Konigtum,

pp. 7-41 (Buchkunst und

Herrscherbi/d); Rosamond McKitterick, 'Continuity and Innovation in Tenth-Century Ottonian Culture', in Intellectual Life in the Middle Ages, pp. 15-24.


John Lowden

those other contexts in which rulers made use of the visual cited at the outset-building campaigns, mosaics and frescoes, coins and seals, ceremonies and dress, and so on. Our approach has to do justice to this, and at the same time to allow that all aspects of the book that can be perceived visually will be relevant: its size, material, layout, text, script, decoration, illustration, and binding. They all form part of its visual apport. To review a single case exemplified in this paper, we can say that the scholarly division between those who study ivories and metalwork, and those who work on the insides of manuscripts, has tended to distort our view of the royal/imperial book in the past. And the fashion, still with us, for removing medieval book covers so as to display them as 'museum' objects, while leaving their contents in libraries, is, I hope we can all agree, a travesty of history. Turning to the schema (fig. 5), we can now see that there are dangers if answers to complex questions are sought only within its simplistic structure. We need to work not just with four concentric circles, but with a much larger number, varying in size, sometimes interlocking, sometimes overlapping, sometimes far apart, sometimes even on different planes. These circles will represent not merely abstract formulations, but the people, the places, the varying circumstances we know to have played a role in any one book's history. Such a schema can be imagined, I think, but it cannot be drawn. Nevertheless, the schema has been valuable in alerting us to a range of possibilities. The royal/imperial book, if going to the ruler, presents us with the perceptions that others had, or wished to promote. If going from the ruler, the pattern of visual rhetoric may well have been similar, but the audience was different. Over time books could be re-presented, and make other points to other people. It is only, perhaps, in the books commissioned by a ruler for use in a royal context that we might expect to find a ruler's self-image. But, as we have seen, these may well be books without royal or imperial images, in which other visual strategies were employed to make points about rulership. What we see in a royal/imperial book, therefore, is an image of kingship, rather than the image of a king.


I. Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS latin I, fol. 422v-423r. Dedicatory Poem and Image of Charles the Bald (photos: Bibliotheque Nationale). 2. Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS latin 266, fols 1v-2r. Image of Lothar and Dedicatory Poem (photos: Bibliotheque Nationale).

3. London, British Library, Additional MS 37768, fols 3v-4r. Dedicatory Poem and Image of Lothar (photos: British Library). 4. London, British Library, Additional MS 37768, front cover. Image of a Ruler (photo: British Library). 5. London, British Library, Egerton MS 1139,rear cover. Acts of Charity [Mt. 25: 35-36] (photo: British Library). 6. Bamberg, Staatliche Bibliothek, MS Lit. 7, rear and front covers. Saints Peter and Paul (photo: Bildarchiv Foto Marburg). 7. Bamberg, Staatliche Bibliothek, MS Lit. 8, rear and front covers. Virgin and Christ (photo: Bildarchiv Foto Marburg). 8. Vienna, Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, MS 1182, fols 190v-191r. Colophon and Devotional Image (photos: Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek).

Plate IA

Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Dedicatory Poem and Image



Plate lB MS latin l, fols 422v-423r. of Charles the Bald (photos: Bibliotheque Nationale)

Plate 2A Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Image of Lotbar

Plate 2B MS latin 266, fols 1v-2r. and Dedicatory Poem (photos: Bibliotheque Nationale)

Plate 3A London, British Library, Dedicatory Poem

Plate 38 Additional MS 37768, fols 3v-4r. and Image of Lothar (photos: British Library)

Plate 4 London, British Library, Additional MS 37768, front cover. Image of a Ruler (photo: British Library).

Plate 5 London, British Library, Egerton MS 1139, rear cover. Acts of Charity [Mt. 25: 35-36] (photo: British Library).

Plate 6 Bamberg, Staatlicbe Bibliotbek, MS Lit. 7, rear and front covers. Saints Peter and Paul (photo: Bildarchiv Foto Marburg)

Plate 7 Bamberg, Staatliche Bibliothek, MS Lit. 8, rear and front covers. Virgin and Christ (photo: Bildarchiv Foto Marburg)

Plate SA Vienna, Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Colophon and Devotional Image

Plate 8B

MS 1182, fols 190v-19lr. (photos: Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek)


Komel Szovak Centre for Ancient and Medieval Studies (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Budapest

Though often regarded as one of the peripheral nations of medieval Europe (which, in a strictly geographical sense, it was), the newlyfounded kingdom of Hungary was not isolated from the broad development of monarchical institutions elsewhere in the Latin West.I Indeed, from the third quarter of the eleventh century, Empire and papacy were both concerned to secure the allegiance and political attachment of the Hungarian realm and neither remained aloof from the opportunities offered by the dynastic disputes that erupted in the dynasty of the saint-king Stephen. The struggle for the Hungarian throne in the second half of the eleventh century assumed Europewide significance from the fact that the universal claims of the Papacy and the Empire towards the kingdom of Hungary were both formulated in part as a consequence of it. The sons of Bela I ( l 0601063), Geza and Ladislas, defeated the legitimately-crowned king, Solomon, son of Andrew I (1046-1060), in the battle of Mogyor6d in 1074. After this struggle, Solomon turned for assistance to the King Henry IV of Germany, thus risking the independence of his country. Pope Gregory VII regarded his the German involvement as an infrin1

The data listed by Jacques Le Goff (Das Hochmittelalter, Fischer Weltgeschichte, 11 [Frankfurt a.M., 1965), pp. 12-13) show clearly that Hungary had been drawn fully into the community of Western Christendom by the end of the 11th century.


Komel Szowik

gement of the rights of St Peter2 and declared that Solomon's defeat at Mogyor6d was a divine judgment for having received the kingdom from the German king and not from the Roman pontiff) Those events gave the pope an opportunity to add a further argument to Hungary's worldly dependence on St Peter, 4 in addition to St Stephen's offering of the kingdom to St Peter and the Emperor Henry III's recognition of that subordination, following his defeat of the Hungarian king.5 The sensitive reaction of the Hungarians will be covered briefly later, but I would like to emphasize at this point that this disputed succession provided the occasion for Pope Gregory VII to formulate the theory of translatio regni, 6 which was to resonate Pope Gregory VII's letter of 28 October l074 to Solomon (ii. 13): 'tu tamen in ceteris quoque a regia virtute et moribus longe discedens ius et honorem sancti PETRI quantum ad te imminuisti et alienasti, dum eius regnum a rege Teutonicorum in beneficium, sicut audivimus, suscepisti ', Das Register Gregors VII., 2 vols, edited by E. Caspar, Epistolae selectae in usum scholarum ex Monumentis Germaniae Historicis separatim editae, II, 1-2, 2nd edn (Berlin, 1955), I, 145). 3 Pope Gregory VII's letter of 23 March l075 to Geza I (ii. 63): 'Quod quia consanguineus tuus a rege Teutonico non a Romano pontifice usurpative obtinuit, dominium eius, ut credimus, divinum iudicium impedivit ', ibid., I, 218. 4 Cf. J. Gerics, •Judicium Dei a magyar allam XI. szazadi kiilkapcsolataiban (A Szent Lasz16-kori jogi es politikai ideo16gia tortenetehez)' [Judicium Dei in the foreign relations of I Ith-century Hungary (The History of Legal and Political Ideology in the Age of St Ladislas)], in Athleta Patriae. Tanulmanyok Szent Laszlo tortenetehez [Studies on the History of St Ladislas], edited by L. Mezey, Hungaria Sacra, I (Budapest, 1980), pp. 111-34. 5 Pope Gregory VII's letter to Solomon, mentioned above (at n. 2): 'Nam sicut a maioribus patrie tue cognoscere potes, regnum Ungarie sancte Romane ecclesie proprium est a rege Stephano olim beato PETRO cum omni iure et potestate sua oblatum et devote traditum. Preterea Heinricus pie memorie imperator ad honorem sancti PETRI regnum illud expugnans victo rege et facta victoria ad corpus beati PETRI lanceam coronamque transmisit et pro gloria triumphi sui illuc regni direxit insignia, quo principatum dignitatis eius attinere cognovit.' Das Register Gregors VII, I. 145. 6 Pope Gregory VII's letter of 17 April 1075 to Prince Geza (ii. 70): 'Verum ubi contempto nobili dominio beati PETRI apostolorum principis, cuius regnum esse prudentiam tuam latere non credimus, rex subdidit se Teutonico 2

The Image of the Ideal King


throughout Europe. From the last quarter of the eleventh century, Gregorian ideas tended to the de-sacralization of the royal dignity. As a response to the Gregorian attacks, Bishop Hartvik of Gyor, in the court of King Kalman (1096-1116), elaborated the theory of St Stephen's apostolic kingship to defend the sovereignty of the Hungarian king; 7 and at the end of the twelfth century, the ecclesiastical privileges enjoyed by the kings of Hungary (and Sicily) were cited in the dispute between Henry II of England and archbishopThomas Becket of Canterbury.s Hungarian precedents even made a lasting contribution to the development of the canon law relating to crusaders' vows. In the last decade of the twelfth century King Bela III ( 1172-1196) swore that he would go on crusade. Death prevented him from keeping his vow, but he bequeathed a substantial amount of money to his younger son, on the condition that he lead a campaign to the Holy Land in his stead. It was Prince Andrew's reluctance to fulfil his father's vow

regi et reguli nomen obtinuit. Dominus autem iniuriam suo illatam principi previdens potestatem regni suo ad te iudicio transtulit. Et ita, si quid in obtinendo regno iuris prius habuit, a se sacrilega usurpatione privavit', ibid., I, 230). Cf. W. Ullmann, Kurze Geschichte des Papsttums im Mittelalter (Berlin/New York, 1978), p. 140. 1 Legenda sancti Stephani regis maior et minor, atque legenda ab Hartvico episcopo conscripta, edited by Emma Bartoniek, in Scriptores rerum Hungaricarum {= SRHJ. II (1938), 401-440; P. von Vaczy, 'Stephan der Heilige als piipstlicher Legat'. Jahrbuch des Graf Kuno Klebelsberg-lnstituts fur Ungarische Geschichtsforschung in Wien, IV ( 1934), 27-41; idem, Die erste Epoche des ungarischen Konigtums (Pees, 1935), pp. 92-115; Z. T6th, A Hartvik-/egenda kritiktijtihoz (A Szt. Korona eredetkerdese) [To the Critic of the Hartvik-Legend (The Questions of the Origin of the Holy Crown)} (Budapest, 1942). 8 Gy. Gyorffy, 'Thomas a Becket and Hungary', Angol Filo/ogiai Tanulmanyok: Hungarian Studies in English, IV (Debrecen, 1969) pp. 45-52, esp. pp. 45--6; J. Gerics, A korai rendiseg Europaban es Magyarorszagon [Early Corporatism in Europe and Hungary] (Budapest, 1987), p. 231; J. Deer, 'Der Anspruch der Herrscher des 12. Jahrhunderts auf die apostolische Legation', Archivum Historiae Pontificiae, IV (1964), 117-86. Together with Gyorffy and Gerics, I cannot agree with Deer's statement that the concept in question was brought from Sicily by Hartvik.


Kamel Szowik

that led Pope Innocent III to issue his important decretal, Licet universis, which soon became the keystone of canonical regulation concerning the inheritability of the crusader's vow.9 In a similar way, Andrew II' s alienation of royal property raised the question of the legality of such practices. On his ascent to the throne, soon after the events that gave rise to Licet universis, the new king Andrew II (1205-1235) satisfied his subjects' demands by transferring many royal estates to them. These large-scale distributions of royal goods were called novae institutiones in Hungary and the king seemed to regard the practice as a royal programme.10 This impelled Pope Honorius III to write his famous decretal Intellecto iamdudum, which later became part of Pope Gregory IX's Liber Ex9

Pope Innocent III' s letter of 29 January 1198 to Prince Andrew: •Accepimus siquidern, quod cum indite recordationis B(ela) quondam rex Vngarie, pater tuus, ageret in extremis et de sua penitus convalescentia desperaret, votum, quo voverat Domino Ierosolimitanam provinciarn in forti manu et brachio extento corde tamen humili et humiliato spiritu visitare, sub interminatione maledictionis paterne cornmisit tue fidei exsequendum', Die Register lnnocenz' Ill., vol. 1, edited by 0. Hageneder and A. Haidacher, Publikationen der Abteilung filr historische Studien des Osterreichischen Kulturinstituts in Rom, Section 2, Ser. I, I (Graz/Koln, 1964), Book. I, 10 (p. 17); J. R. Sweeney, 'Hungary in the Crusades, 1169-1218', The International History Review, III (1981), 467-481, esp. pp. 473-5; J. A. Brundage, Medieval Canon I.Aw and the Crusader (Madison, 1969), pp. 87 and 139. 10 J. Horvath, 'Die personlichkeit des Meisters P. und die politische Tendenz seines Werkes', Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, XIX (1971), 347-82, esp. pp. 357-8. That this programme was formulated on the level of the ideal monarch is clearly shown by an example of an arenga from 1214: 'Cum inter universa virtutum genera regiam maiestatem adomancia largitas tota pre ceteris prepolleat et primatum videatur obtinere, regie benignitatis inter videlicet illos pre ceteris honoribus sublimare, pro quibus fidelium serviciorum longanimitas intercedit et experta probitas dignoscitur allegare', G. Erszegi, 'Eine neue Quelle zur Geschichte der bulgarisch-ungarischen Beziehungen wlihrend der Herrschaft Borils', Bulgarian Historical Review, III (1975), no 2, pp. 91-7, esp. p. 96. A selection of arengas in royal charters from the period of Andrew II dealing with royal generosity is given in Georgii Barta! de Belehaza, Commentariorum ad historiam status jurisque publici Hungariae Aevi Medii libri XV, 2 (Posonii, 1847), p. 110.

The Image of the Ideal King


tra (the Gregorian Decretales of 1234), and so transmitted the theory of the inalienability of royal, i.e. crown, property all over Europe.1 1 As these examples demonstrate, every European monarchy contributed something to the formation of the concept of the royal office within its own borders.12 Theories about the state, or rather about the ideal king, were spread in Hungary along with Christianity. 13 One particular genre of this literature was the Speculum, or Mirror of princes, first composed during the Carolingian period. In the course of listing the required virtues of the ideal monarch, it revealed also its view of the state. But after a short flourish, it tended to become stereotyped, and by c. 1000 it contained only commonplace utterances, often without much sign of originality . 14 In contrast, King Stephen's Institutiones, composed for his son, the first work concerned with the theory of the state to be written in Hungary, show a surprising liveliness both in their form and in their content. 15 In composing the Institutiones, King Stephen's



13 14


Pope Honorius III to the archbishop of Kalocza: 'Hungariae rex ... alienationes quasdam fecerit in praeiudicium regni sui et contra regis honorem', Uber Extra, 2,24,33 (Corpus Juris Canonici, 2 vols., edited by E. Friedberg [Leipzig, 1879-1881 ], II, col. 373); P. N. Riesenberg, Inalienability of Sovereignty in Medieval Political Thought (New York, 1956) pp. 13-14, 100--01; Gy. B6nis, 'Decretalis Intellecto', Tortenelmi Szemle, XVII (1974), 24-31; J. R. Sweeney, 'The Problem of Inalienability in Innocent III' s Correspondence with Hungary', Mediaeval Studies, XXXVII( 1975), 235-51. On the ideology of kingship, see esp. E. Ewig, 'Zurn christlichen Konigsgedanken im Fri.lhmittelalter', in Das Konigtum. Seine geistigen und rechtlichen Grundlagen, Vortrage und Forschungen, 3 (Lindau/Konstanz, 1956), pp. 7-73, and E. H. Kantorowicz, The King's Two Bodies. A study in Mediaeval Political Theory (Princeton, 1957), still basic works of reference for this subject. The most detailed work on the concept of the ideal king in medieval Hungary is von Vaczy, Die erste Epoche des ungarischen Konigtums. J. Balogh, 'The Political Testament of St Stephen, King of Hungary', The Hungarian Quarterly, IV (1938), 389-98, esp. pp. 391-2. Libel/us de institutione morum, edited by I. Balogh, SRH, II, 611-27; J. Sziics, 'Konig Stephans "Institutionen"-Konig Stephans Staat', in idem, Nation und Geschichte. Studien (Budapest, 1981), pp. 245-62; idem, 'Szent Istvan Intelmei: az elso magyarorszagi allamelmeleti mii' ['St Stephen's In-


Kornel Szov