Source Translation: Lothar-what-now?

This actually was a regular charter of the week, until I realised that I had been misreading the date and placing it too early… So enjoy this week’s plethora of acts, and we’ll be back with non-translated material next week!

Meanwhile in the East Frankish kingdom, Arnulf of Carinthia has died and Zwentibald of Lotharingia has been overthrown then killed. Their successor is Arnulf’s other son, this one legitimate, Louis the Child. Per his name, he’s a child. This means that the kingdom is in the hands of his minders, above all Archbishop Hatto of Mainz and Bishop Adalbero of Augsburg. This could in theory create problems, but they seem to have dealt with it relatively successfully:

DD LtC no. 20 (24th June 903, Forchheim)

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity. Louis, by the favour of divine clemency king.

If We clemently assent to and piously take care the petitions of Our followers which they suggest to Us for the profit of the churches committed to them, We are clearly confident that this will benefit Us both in the state of the present realm and to happily obtain the prize of the future kingdom.

On which account, let the general company of all Our followers, to wit, present and future, know that Salomon [III], the venerable bishop [of Constance] and abbot of the abbey of Sankt Gallen, who was first substituted by royal power in place of Abbot Bernhard – whose abbatial office was taken from him because of his crimes, because he supported Bernard [the bastard son of Charles the Fat], an alien invader of the realm, in resisting royal majesty – and then elected by the common consideration  of all the brothers serving the Lord therein, because he endeavoured to manage them will in both divine and human affairs, in accordance with the Rule of Saint Benedict, in Our general assembly held at Forchheim, through the advice of Our followers, that is, the chief men who were present there, gathered from the sundry corners of Our realm, whose names are as follows: the venerable bishops Hatto [of Mainz], Waldo [of Freising], Adalbero [of Augsburg], Erchanbald [of Eichstätt], Theodulf [of Chur], Tuto [of Regensburg], and Einhard [of Speyer], and Counts Conrad [the Elder], Gebhard, duke of the realm which many call Lothar’s; Burchard, margrave of the Thuringians; Adalbert [of Babenberg]; Burchard, margrave of Churrhaetia; Liutpold, duke of the Bavarians; Papo; Odalric; Conrad [the Younger]; Hugh; Reginpold; Adalgoz; Roger; Burchard, son of Walaho; Liutfred; Godedank; Ernust and Erlolf – by the intervention and consultation, as was said before, of all of these Our followers and many others, the aforesaid Salomon, Our beloved bishop, asked Our Clemency that We might fortify all the privileges conceded to the aforesaid abbey by Our pious father of good memory, that is, the august emperor Arnulf [of Carinthia], and by his other predecessors, that is, his great-grandfather Emperor Louis [the Pious] and his son Louis [the German], the most glorious of kings, and also his paternal uncle the august emperor Charles [the Fat], by the authority of Our writing.

We freely assented to the advice of Our said beloved bishop and Our aforementioned followers, and We complied with and rejoiced in their just and reasonable petition, and We receive that abbey with the brothers soldiering for the Lord in it under the tutelage of Our immunity, and whatever the aforesaid emperors or kings of the Franks conceded, We confirmed completely and in every way by this writing, decreeing and establishing that no public judge or any person of higher or lower order should presume either to hear cases or exact peace-money or make a halt or claim hospitality in the churches, estates, places or fields of that monastery, nor distrain through force the men both free and servile dwelling on the land of the same abbey, or to take securities, nor dare to unreasonably disturb them; and let whatever should be investigated in respect of that monastery by a legal inquest with oaths required from the noble men dwelling in each county where an inquest of this sort should be carried out be carried out in such a manner as was conceded to the nearby monastery of Reichenau in carrying out their inquests.

And because this petition was made particularly for a privilege of election for the same brothers by the above-written bishop and abbot and by them and all his above-written friends, although We should wish all the statutes laid out above to be valid and firm (and they ought rightly so to be), We firmly establish with the power divinely bestowed on Us that the brothers of the oft-said monastery should from this day forth hold secure power to elect an abbot from amongst themselves, as long as such a one can be found amongst them who can order and rule a monastic way of life well, in accordance with the Rule of Saint Benedict.

And that the present page of this privilege might endure firm for eternity and beyond, and be more truly believed and diligently conserved by all Our followers, We confirmed it with the inscription of Our own hand and We commanded it be authenticated by Our seal.

Sign of lord Louis, most serene of kings.

Ernust the chancellor witnessed and subscribed on behalf of Archchaplain Thietmar.

Given on the 8th kalends of July [24th June], in the year of the Incarnation of the Lord 903, in the 6th indiction, in the 4th year of the reign of lord Louis.

Enacted at Forchheim.

Happily, amen.

(This is an original diploma, but I can’t find a reproduction of it…)

Instead, a propos of nothing, it turns out that the abbey of Sankt Gallen, which received this diploma, has a hot-air balloon shaped like it (source)

Those really long lists of petitioners are important. They represent a kind of team-building exercise, a public demonstrate of everyone involved’s consent to Louis’ regime. But it’s one of those names in particular that I want to point out specifically today, that being Gebhard.

Gebhard was a member of the kin-group historians call the ‘Conradiner’, a powerful family in the East Frankish kingdom. He had been part of the 899 meeting in Sankt-Goar which had led the plot to overthrow Zwentibald, and his status in this diploma as ‘duke of the kingdom which many call Lothar’s’ must reflect part of the reward for doing that.

But, ‘the kingdom which many call Lothar’s’ is a bit of a funny thing to be a duke of, no? His colleagues are all the rulers of some straightforwardly-described things: peoples, like the Bavarians; or places, like Churrhaetia, all of which have apparently-uncomplicated names. (How uncomplicated they were in practice is entirely another question, but apparently at least the chancery scribes knew what they were talking about there in a way they evidently don’t with Lotharingia.)

Lotharingia is in fact an interesting case where there is a clear sense of what it is not but not necessarily a clear sense of what it is. The identity of Lotharingia would become clearer over the tenth and eleventh centuries, but for the moment it seems awfully like regional distinctiveness has arisen before anyone has a very particular idea of how or why the region is actually distinctive…

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