Name in Print VI

As a nice cap to my frantic end-September deadline drive (ends this evening, hurrah!), today I found this in my office pigeonhole:


This, as you can see, is the new volume of The Mediaeval Journal, and I am in it. You may remember that a while back, I came runner-up in their essay competition, and now the article has seen the light of day as ‘Kingship and Consent in the Reign of Charles the Simple: The Case of Sint-Servaas (919)’, The Mediaeval Journal 7.2 (2019), pp. 1-22. I’m proud of this one – anyone who’s met me (or indeed read this blog) will know that I am an unashamed Charles the Simple fanboy, and whereas my last article about him unavoidably focussed on his failures, this one aims to put down one particular historiographical myth, that of Charles’ absolutism. In wider terms, it’s about the shades of royal ideology and the use of charters to convey ideology, so if any of this strikes your fancy, please do have a look!

It is unfortunately not freely available online, but if you can’t get hold of the journal I have a PDF I’d be happy to send you – if you don’t have my contact details, you can find them under the ‘About’ page on the right-hand side of the blog.

The gritty details: My word, do you know it’s been five years since this thing first saw the light of day?! That was as a conference paper back in 2014, which then became my IMC paper in 2015. It then got written up for the Mediaeval Journal Essay Prize when I moved to Brussels in 2016, the results of which you know already. This came with a cash prize (and I’d already been asked if I wanted to publish a previous entry with them which was only short-listed) so I waited to hear about publication, given they’d already given me some money for it*. I then waited some more, until several months later I asked if they wanted to publish it, to which the answer was thankfully ‘yes’. Reviewer reports wanted a few minor revisions, which I submitted by year-end 2017. Then it was another waiting game, in large part because the previous issue of the journal was taken up with a special issue, but final proofs were off by year-end 2018 and now, nine months later, it’s out!

*For non-academics, this is unusual and only because this was a prize – we don’t get paid for articles.

Name in Print V

Small, but significant: this week, my first ever book review came out in The Medieval Review. The work in question is Katherine Cross’ Heirs of the Vikings: History and Identity in Normandy and England, c. 950 – c. 1015, and although I had some issues with bits of it (the charter section, natch, but mostly the parts about genealogy) it’s really rather good. If you’re interested in identity or Norman or Anglo-Saxon history of the latter tenth century, then you could do a heck of a lot worse than swinging by the Boydell and Brewer website and picking yourself up a copy;  but if you want to read in detail what I thought, you can do do here.

The Gritty Details: Again, not very gritty. Got the invitation in June (I do have a bit of a track record with the book’s subject, after all…), received the book three weeks later, read it cover-to-cover two or three times during the holidays, wrote the thing up by August and it’s out now – not bad considering they’re explicitly running quite behind.

Name in Print IV

Well, this was a bit of a surprise. The forms were all signed, the changes were all done, but when the new Journal of Medieval Latin showed up at my door today, it was unexpected. Pleasantly so, because I am in it! Now available to the public is my new article, ‘A Post-Carolingian Voice of Dissent: The Historia Francorum Senonensis’, The Journal of Medieval Latin 28 (2018), pp. 15-47. This is not just a new article, which would be exciting enough; it’s also my first foray into publication as a translator, because attached as an appendix to the article is a translation of the Historia, all peer-reviewed and everything!

Proof, were any needed

It is, certainly, a long one. I got invited to do a close-reading of this text at a seminar in Sheffield, and it proved to have a lot in it. I also ended up reading an article on Abbo of Saint-Germain-des-Prés’ sermons at the same time and therefore ended up thinking about ideas about what the realm was in the work. It turns out that if you follow the logic of this text to its ultimate conclusion, you end up in some strange places. The Historia’s author was concerned about family and about violence, but not so much about the kingdom as a separate entity from its kings. And, ultimately, he just didn’t think much of lay power at all.

The bad news is that if you want to read it, you’ll have to find a physical copy of the journal, because it’s not Open Access and I don’t have a PDF or even any offprints, which is a shame. It’s probably a good sign that this is the least accessible thing I’ve ever published, but it’s sad that what may be the most generally useful bit of my writing in print is going to be relatively tricky to get hold of… Still, if any of this tickles your fancy at all, you should check it out!

It’s not freely available online, but I do have a PDF if you can’t get hold of the journal – you can find my contact details under the ‘About’ page on the right-hand side of the blog.

The gritty details: Not particularly gritty, in this case. It started life as a ‘masterclass’ for MARS at Sheffield in 2016 which went OK, despite the fact that I still don’t know what a masterclass is, and despite the fact that the audience I had prepared for was radically different to the audience I got (as in, I had been told to prepare for an audience of about half-a-dozen expert early medievalists and got one of about thirty people including an engineering undergraduate. Still wasn’t very clever of me to forget to number the handout…). I wrote it up over winter 2016 and submitted it first thing 2017. Two rounds of reviewing later (one of which was very… idiosyncratic, and by that I mean that they re-reviewed the first draft) and it was in the queue by start of 2018, coming out now! The first draft was a bit of a Siamese twin, and on the advice of the reviewers I cut a very large chunk of the actual history of the archbishopric of Sens out, which will probably get written up in the next few months for publication elsewhere. My old doctoral supervisor wrote an article in the ‘80s on ‘The Carolingian Kings and the See of Rheims, 882-987’ where she lamented the absence of the equivalent for Sens, so there’s long-standing demand here. I must also say that the editor for JML is very good and scarily diligent…

Name in Print III


Ahem. Sorry about the vehemence there, but as you can see below the gritty details were peculiarly gritty with this one… Anyway, as advertised a little while ago, I now have the final proofs available of my new article, ‘The young king and the old count: Around the Flemish succession crisis of 965’, which has appeared in the latest issue of the Revue Belge de philologie et d’histoire, vol. 95/2 (2017).

I’ve given the full reference because, unfortunately, there’s not yet any hyperlink, nor is it yet open access. However, because an awful lot of continental journals have a more enlightened approach to this sort of thing than the UK does, it will automatically be on Persee after a two-year cool-off period, and I will update when it does. For the moment, I have a PDF and I’m told some physical offprints are on their way to my post-box soon, if that’s more your jam.

So what’s it about, I hear you ask? Well, it has basically three points. The first is working as a case study of the practice -> ideas -> practice cycle which I think is so important to earlier medieval politics. Here, Count Arnulf of Flanders faces a succession crisis, starts pushing his (fairly distant) kinship ties to the Carolingian king Lothar as part of a charm offensive, only for Lothar to turn these claims back against Flanders after Arnulf’s death. The second, relatedly, is to analyse the following succession crisis to argue that a) it was in fact a crisis – Lothar is behaving badly – and b) even when you’ve prepared for the succession as well as you can, a canny operator with a good claim can snatch an awful lot from under your heirs. The third and last is to finally settle the question which Arnulf Flodoard is talking about when he refers to a nepos of Arnulf of Flanders ‘who has the same name’ rebelling against the count. This is more of a problem than it sounds because Arnulf actually has about six potential nepoti all called Arnulf – although I argue that it’s very likely that the one everyone else thinks it is, Arnulf of Boulogne, wasn’t actually related to him at all.

The gritty details: This one took a looooong time. D’you know some version of this first saw the light of day in 2014? It was my Kalamazoo paper in the second year of my doctoral study… Anyway, I wrote that up for the Mediaeval Journal competition in 2015, a year where actually no-one won. I then assumed they wouldn’t want it and sent it off to the RBPH, only to discover rather later it had been short-listed and TMJ were interested in publishing it – by then, of course, it was with someone else so I had to regretfully decline (which they were very good about) and the competition feedback was in fact very, very useful. I then didn’t hear from the RPBH until I was – quite by chance – in Brussels, at the start of 2017, when the reviewers wanted some fairly hefty re-writes (it was at this point the ideas which became this blog post were cut, and someday I’d like to argue them further; but they weren’t really completely relevant, I guess), meaning that I did at least get an excuse to go to Ghent; to read a Dutch doctoral thesis on the charters of Blandijnberg, but still. Once the re-writes were in, I was actually told fairly quickly – late spring 2017? – that they were OK, but then it just sat in a queue waiting until – finally – it saw the light of day now, in Spring 2018.

Name in Print II

So I’ve just got back to London after speaking at the Revisiting the Europe of Bishops conference in Liverpool, which was great fun but also very tiring. But, whilst I was there I discovered that an article which has been in the pipeline for a while has finally seen the light of day, and maybe you all would like to know about it.

The article in question is entitled ‘Sub-Kingdoms and the Spectrum of Kingship on the Western Border of Charles the Bald’s Kingdom’, and can be found in The Heroic Age via this finely-crafted hyper-link. As with my last article, it’s all open access and freely-available, so please do go and enjoy yourself.

As for what it covers, it’s basically an exercise in comparison between the rulers of Neustria, Aquitaine and Brittany, and how they are all kings, but not fully kings. The basic point, that kingship is a spectrum not an either-or, is fairly simple; but hopefully it puts a little flesh on those bones. To be honest, this is one where I wish that I’d brought in more Merovingian comparison (a sentence I never thought I’d say) – I wonder how odd any of this looks from a 6th century perspective…

The gritty details: This one had a while before it saw the light of day. After being one of the organisers of a conference in Cambridge on the Carolingian frontier, I was contacted by Cullen Chandler in Summer 2015 to ask if I wanted to contribute something to a special Heroic Age edition on Carolingian borderlines. At the time, I was busy finishing off my thesis, I prevaricated; but Cullen generously said that proposals didn’t have to be in until Winter 2015. I got something together for February 2016. One round of revisions, resubmitted December 2016, and finally opened for the public just over a year later!

Name in Print I

After a nearly two-year hiatus in publishing, my latest article is now in print, and available for anyone to read. It is entitled ‘After Soissons: The Last Years of Charles the Simple (923-929)’, and it can be found – for free – with the good folks at the Rivista Reti Medievali via this finely-crafted hyperlink.

Charles’ last years haven’t really ever been the subject of historical enquiry, and certainly not in the last, say, seventy-five years or so, so I can say with some confidence that this represents the cutting-edge treatment of the subject. It also features ornery Vikings, Frankish nobles in both conniving and morally-outraged flavours, and Charles’ underwhelming 927 comeback tour. In short: HARDCORE TENTH-CENTURY POLITICS. And it is, as said, open access, so you’ve really got no excuse not to read it.

The gritty details: originally written Winter 2016 for the Chibnall Prize, revised and resubmitted to Rivista Reti Medievali May 2017, one round of revisions, and in print now, five months later. Given some of my stuff that’s still in development hell, this is a fine speed record!

(This format shamelessly ripped off from Jonathan Jarret’s blog…)