Reading the West Frankish Coronation Liturgy, no. 3: The Erdmann Ordo (c. 900)

1.  Here begins the ordo to ordain a king.

2.  The bishops’ petition to the king.

“We ask you to grant to us, that you will to each of us and the churches committed to us conserve canonical privilege and due law and justice, and provide defence, as a king ought rightly to provide to each bishop in his realm along with the church committed to them.”

3.  The king’s response.

“I promise and grant to you that I will for each of you and the churches committed to you conserve canonical privilege and due law and justice, and provide defence as well I can, with the Lord’s aid, as a king ought rightly to provide to each bishop in his realm along with the church committed to them.”

4.  Then two bishops should call on the people in the church, seeking their will. And if they are in agreement, let them give thanks to God and sing a Te Deum.

5.  Benedictions and prayers over the king.

6.  “O God, Who takes care of the people by thy virtue and rules them with love, give to this man, thy servant N., the spirit of wisdom, with the guidance of instruction, so that he, wholeheartedly devoted to thee, might always remain worthy in guiding the realm; and so that during his reign the security of the church might be steered with thy defence, and Christian devotion might endure in tranquillity, so that, enduring in good works, he might by thy lead come to the eternal Kingdom. Per.”

7.  Alternatively.“O eternal God Almighty, creator and governor of Heaven and Earth, maker and manager of angels and men, king of kings and lord of lords, thou Who caused thy servant Abraham to triumph over his foes, gave many-fold victories unto Moses and Joshua, who were set above thy people; and elevated thy humble child David to the peak of the realm, and freed him from the mouth of the lion and the claw of the beast and Goliath, and from the wicked sword of Saul, and all his enemies, and enriched Solomon with the ineffable gift of wisdom and peace, hear our humble prayers we beseech thee, and adorn this man, your servant N., with the virtues with which thou adornest thine aforesaid faithful and the blessing of many-fold honour, and place him sublimely in control of the realm, and anointed him with the oil of thy Holy Spirit’s grace, with which thou hast anointed priests, kings, prophets and martyrs, who conquered kingdoms through faith and did works of justice and received promises. Let its most holy unction flow upon his head, and descend within him, and enter into his innermost heart; let him be by thy grace made worthy by the promises which the victorious kings received, so that he might happily reign in the present age and reach their company in the Kingdom of Heaven. Through our lord Jesus Christ, thy son, who was anointed with the oil of joy before his fellows and vanquished the powers of the air with the virtue of the Cross, who destroyed Hell and overcame the Devil’s kingdom, and rose victorious to Heaven, in whose hand all victory, glory, and power consist, and who lives and reigns with thee, God in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.”

8.  Afterwards, the ring should be placed on his finger, and then this should be said.

“Take this ring, a sign of holy faith, through which thou might know to fend off all heresies, and be joined to the ongoing catholic faith”.

9.  This prayer follows.

“God, Whose is all power and dignity, give to thy servant N. a fortunate outcome for his rank, in which, by thy gift, may he remain, and always fear thee and struggle constantly to please thee. Per.”

10.   At the giving of the sword.

“Take this sword, given to thee with the blessing of God to wreak vengeance on malefactors and praise the good, with which, through the virtue of the Holy Spirit, thou might resist and drive out all thine enemies and every adversary of the holy Church of God, and defend the realm committed to thee, and protect the camps of God, through the aid of the invincible victor our lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, amen.”

11.   The coronation.

“May the Lord crown thee with a crown of glory and justice, with honour and works of fortitude, that through the office of our blessing, with correct faith and the many-fold fruit of good works, you might reach a crown of the realm everlasting, by the largess of Him Whose realm and empire endures forever and ever, amen.”

12.   This prayer follows.

“O Lord, fount of all goods, O God, founder of all success, we beseech thee, give it to thy servant N. to bear well the dignity he has taken up, and deign to corroborate him in the honour so furnished; honour him before the other kings of the Earth, enrich him with fruitful blessings, and confirm him in the throne of the realm with firm stability; visit him with offspring, grant him long life. May justice always arise in his days, that he might be glorified with favour and eternal joy in the Kingdom. Per.”

13.   Here the sceptre is given.

“Take this sceptre, sign of royal power, to wit, the rightful rod of the realm, the rod of the virtue with which thou mayest rule thee thyself and the holy Church; that is, defend with royal virtue the Christian people committed to thee by God from the unrighteous, correct the corrupt, direct the righteous that they might hold to the right path by thy aid, so that you might go from a worldly kingdom to the Kingdom Eternal, by aid of Him Whose realm and empire endures without end, forever and ever. Amen.”

14.   At the giving of the staff.

“Take the staff, a sign of sacred government, that thou might strengthen the weak, strengthen the faltering, correct the corrupt, direct the righteous on the path to eternal salvation, with the common labour of our lord Jesus Christ, whose, with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, is virtue and empire for ever and ever. Amen.”

15.   At the mass.

“We beseech thee, Almighty God, that thy servant, who by thy mercy has taken up the government of the realm, might gain from thee the increase of all virtues, and, decently ornamented thereby, be able to avoid the monstrosities of sin and, as one enjoying favour, reach thee who art the Way, the Truth, and the Life, who livest [and reignest].”

16.   Secret.

“We beseech thee, O Lord, sanctify this offered gift, that the body and blood of thy only-begotten might be produced for us, and in every way help our king to obtain salvation of body and soul, and to, by thy largess, carry out the office enjoined upon him. Through the same.”

17.   Blessing.

“May God Almighty make thee victorious and triumphant over enemies visible and invisible, and fill up thy heart with fear and love of His holy name, and make thee to persevere in right faith and good works, and, having granted peace in thy days, lead thee to a kingdom everlasting with the palm of victory. Amen.”

18. “And may He who has wished to establish thee as king over the people bestow happiness in the present age and a consortship in eternal happiness. Amen.”

19. “May He cause thee to happily govern the clergy and people, whom He has wished by His generosity to place under thy rule, by His dispensation and thy administration through long-lasting time; for which reason, obeying divine commands, being free from all adversity, abounding in good works, serving thy ministry with faithful love, may they be fruitful in the tranquillity of peace in the present age, and merit to become with thee consorts of the heavenly citizens. Amen.”

20. After communion.

“May this salvatory communion, O Lord, protect thy servant from all adversity, so that he might obtain both the tranquillity of the Church’s peace and after the end of his time here reach an eternal inheritance. Per.”

21. Another blessing over the king.

“May God Almighty bless thee, set over the height of the realm, and dispose of the realm committed to thee with the peace that is desired. Amen. May He defend it from all hostile incursion, and scatter the pride of the foe beneath thy conquest. Amen. That the oppressed Church might be relieved from so many calamities, and labour of this sort might be enriched with heavenly gifts. Amen.”

22. A prayer over the king.

“May God Almighty, through Whom kings reign and in Whose hand all the rights of kings dwell, strengthen thy realm more and more in the liberty of the Christian people, and bend the necks of the faithless nations under the heel of thy power. Through the Lord.”

 

Utrechts-Psalter_CANTICUM-16
OK, so this is probably King Saul and thus not someone to be emulated; but hey, it’s a king with a sword. Source: the really excellent digital edition of the Utrecht Psalter, listed as canticum 16.

(Before I get on to today’s topic, can I just say thank you to everyone who commented on the last post? I greatly appreciate your thoughts.)

[We’ve passed over some Tours texts to do with Odo’s coronation and some undated and possibly very early texts preserved in a manuscript from Rheims.]

If I said that Louis the Stammerer’s ordo was influential, that’s largely because of the influence it had on the so-called Erdmann Ordo, which is influential. (Erdmann himself apparently disapproved of the name.) This is the first of the texts I’ve chosen which can’t be directly linked to a specific coronation, and it’s been placed at anywhere between the 870s and the 930s. The editor, Jackson, places it at a judicious ‘c. 900’, which is probably the correct decision; but I would argue that we can speculatively put it in a closer context than that.

These king’s ordines come in the surviving manuscripts with queen’s ordines, a juxtaposition which is probably meaningful, and suggest an occasion where a king and queen were crowned, if not together, at least proximately to one another. My suggestion here is Ralph of Burgundy. Ralph was crowned in 923 at Soissons; a few months later, his wife Emma was crowned queen at Rheims. But, at the same time she was crowned queen, Ralph was made (temporarily) king of Lotharingia. This is at least a possibility for context; but the reason I think it may well be this time has to do with the nature of some of the new formulae.

In particular, several of them could be read as relating both to Ralph’s particular situation and to his initial royal diplomas. The reference in formula 22 to the faithless nations (infideles nationes) fits in with the early years of Ralph’s reign, which were taken up with battles against the (infidel) Vikings and (disloyal) Lotharingians. Equally, the reference to the king saving the oppressed Church ties in with his first surviving royal diploma, which pushes unusually hard the notion that Ralph’s duty is to protect the Church from its enemies. Possibly significant, both documents use the verb protegere, which is not necessarily super-rare, but is nonetheless very, very uncommon both in coronation liturgy and in royal diplomatic.

Leaving aside this Mickey Mousing of the text, which is fun but hardly definitive, the overall message I take from the Erdmann Ordo is that of intensification. There’s an increased emphasis on the royal role of correcting wrongdoers, the new blessing for handing-over the sword gives the ordo a more aggressive aspect than its predecessors. The whole is still couched in the language of ministerium, but the king’s function as an active governor is more strongly emphasised. This fits nicely in with the general intensification of claims for royal authority around 900.

Next Friday: The Ordo of Seven/Eleven Forms, AKA the Stavelot Ordo.

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Reading the West Frankish Coronation Liturgy, pt. 2: The Coronation of King Odo (888)

1. Prayer to bless the king.

2. “O Lord God, Father Almighty, bless and protect this thy servant N., a subject of thy majesty, through thy only Son in the virtue of the Holy Spirit, that he might, secure against all adversity, constantly rejoice in thy praise. Through the same Lord.

3. The king’s consecration.

“O God, giver of all honours, O God, holiest granter of all dignities, attend our prayers and invocations and deign to send forth from Heaven upon this thy servant N. thy Holy Spirit, which thou hast this very day poured forth upon thy adopted son. May it illuminate, teach and govern him in ruling thy people and in carrying out thy will in all things. May he receive, we beseech thee O Lord, the unction of thy sanctification, with which, through the hand of thy holy prophet Samuel, by the oil of thy blessing, thou anointest the king and prophet David, from whose seed thereafter thou sendest thy son, our lord and God Jesus Christ, by an utterly wonderful dispensation, into the world, born in flesh from an undefiled virgin. May the same holy mother of God and undefiled virgin Mary attend upon him, we beseech thee, O most merciful Father; and may thy holy apostles and all thy elect protect this thy servant N. with the assiduous intercession of their prayers, and may they cherish him and make him vigorous and worthy to rule thy commons and people, which thou, O Lord, hath redeemed with the most precious blood of thy son Christ, who lives and is glorified and reigns with thee and with the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

4. Ad complendum [prayer after communion].

“We beseech thee, O Lord… our actions…” (as above) [there is no above].

5. The bishops’ petition to the king.

“We ask you to grant and promise to us that you will conserve to each of us and the churches committed to us canonical privilege and due law and justice, and that you will provide defence against those who pillage and oppress our churches and the goods pertaining to them in accordance with your ministry, as much as God gives it to you to be able, and that you will thereby conserve for us canonical law, and that you will concede that the goods of our churches, bestowed both by kings and by other faithful men of God, which our churches justly and legally retain at the present time, should endure in wholeness and immunity without any diminution, and that you will endeavour to increase and exalt them in accordance with the due service of each, insofar as God rationally gives you knowledge and power and the times dictate, just as your ancestors, who well and rationally observed this, conserved them for our predecessors; and that you will, with divine clemency aiding you, restore that which was previously corrupted by wicked inclinations to their earlier and better state, with the counsel and aid of us and your other faithful.”

6. King Odo’s promise.

“I promise and grant to each of you and the churches committed to you, that I will conserve canonical privilege and due law and justice, and that I will provide defence against those who pillage and oppress your churches and the goods pertaining to them in accordance with my ministry [ministerium], as much as God gives me strength, and that I will thereby conserve for you canonical law, and that I will concede that the goods of your churches, bestowed both by kings and by other faithful men of God, which your churches justly and legally retain at the present time, should endure in wholeness and immunity without any diminution, and that I will endeavour to increase and exalt them in accordance with the due service of each, insofar as God rationally gives me knowledge and power and the times dictate, just as my ancestors, who well and rationally observed this, conserved them for your predecessors; in order that you might thus be my faithful assistants in counsel and in aid, in accordance with God and in accordance with the world, as your good ancestors were for my better predecessors in accordance with their knowledge and power; and that I will, with divine clemency aiding me, restore that which was previously corrupted by wicked inclinations to their earlier and better state, with the consolation and aid of you and Our other faithful.” The confirmation of King Odo.

coronation_of_king_odo
A much, much later depiction. (source)

(We’ve passed over Louis the Stammerer’s second coronation and a short promissio preserved from the time of his son Carloman II.)

This is a distinctly fruitful ordo, isn’t it? You’ll notice that first of all despite what I said last time about the influence of the 877 ordo on later coronations, that Odo’s ordo doesn’t have much in common with Louis the Stammerer’s coronation memo. The great historian of liturgy Schramm called this one one of the most interesting ordines in the whole West Frankish world, and he’s not wrong. It’s preserved (amongst other places) in a manuscript at Tours, and I wonder if we shouldn’t see a Touraine hand in its production? Odo had been abbot of Saint-Martin in Tours, his core base of support was in Neustria, and the initial blessing is from Alcuin’s Liber Sacramentorum. Usually initiative in coronation ceremonies is given to the archbishops of Rheims or the archbishops of Sens, but we know from elsewhere that Tours had an interest in composing royal texts, and this would seem to be one of them.

What is striking about it is just how traditional it is. Whoever did write this, they were concerned to convey the idea that this was business as usual. (One might note in passing the same kind of late-Carolingian claims for royal authority can be seen in the reference to David as king and prophet as there was in the 877 ordo.) This is most clear in the promissio, which you will note is altered from the form used by Louis the Stammerer (and which was repeated in 884 by Louis’ son Carloman II). In this case, it’s drawing on an oath sworn at Beauvais by Charles the Bald in 845. Schramm thought that this oath had become a ‘foundational document’ of the West Frankish Church; I think that instead the promissio’s author is trying to invoke continuity – note that the reference to ‘your father’ is removed, but instead we have ‘your ancestors’ and ‘our ancestors’, putting Odo’s accession into a long and interrupted line of royal authority. The other thing about the promissio is that it leans very heavily on the language of royal ministerium, both using that word and highlighting the king’s role in correcting the people. Odo’s ordo, in short, is a direct continuation of a late Carolingian tradition.

Next Wednesday, I’ll be writing about something which isn’t coronation liturgy; but this series will be back on Friday with the Erdmann ordo!

Reading the West Frankish Coronation Liturgy, pt. 1: Hincmar’s Ordo for Louis the Stammerer (877)

[n.b.: the numbering follows the edition. Headings 1-9 are the version found in the Annals of Saint-Bertin, which has been translated by Janet Nelson; the text translated here is a separate one found in a manuscript from Liège.]

10. The bishops’ petition
“We ask you to grant to us, that you will conserve for each of us and the churches committed to us (in accordance with the first chapter which your father Emperor Charles very recently announced at Quierzy would be conserved by him and by you, with the assent of his faithful and yours, and the legates of the apostolic see, as read by Gozlin) canonical privilege and due law and justice, and provide defence, as a king ought rightly to provide in his realm to each bishop and the church committed to him.”
11. The king’s promise.
“I promise and grant to you, that I will conserve for each of you and the churches committed to you (in accordance with the first chapter which my father Emperor Charles very recently announced at Quierzy would be conserved by him and by me, with the assent of his faithful and Ours, and the legates of the apostolic see, as read by Gozlin) canonical privilege and due law and justice, and provide defence as far as I can, with the Lord’s help, as a king ought rightly to provide in his realm to each bishop and the church committed to him.”
12. The blessings made over King Louis.
13. “O God, Who takes care of the people by thy virtue and rules them with love, give to this man, thy servant N., the spirit of wisdom, with the guidance of instruction, so that he, wholeheartedly devoted to thee, might always remain worthy in guiding the realm; and so that during his reign the security of the church might be steered with thy defence, and Christian devotion might endure in tranquillity. Through the Lord.”
14. The infusion of sacred oil.
“O eternal God Almighty, creator and governor of Heaven and Earth, maker and manager of angels and men, king of kings and lord of lords, thou Who caused thy servant Abraham to triumph over his foes, gave many-fold victories unto Moses and Joshua, who were set above thy people; and elevated thy humble child David to the peak of the realm, and freed him from the mouth of the lion and the claw of the beast and Goliath, and from the wicked sword of Saul, and all his enemies, and enriched Solomon with the ineffable gift of wisdom and peace, hear our humble prayers we beseech thee, and adorn this man, your servant, with the virtues with which thou adornest thine aforesaid faithful and the blessing of many-fold honour, and place him sublimely in control of the realm, and anointed him with the oil of thy Holy Spirit’s grace, with which thou hast anointed priests, kings, prophets and martyrs, who conquered kingdoms through faith and did works of justice and received promises. Let its most holy unction flow upon his head, and descend within him, and enter into his innermost heart; let him be by thy grace made worthy by the promises which the victorious kings received, so that he might happily reign in the present age and reach their company in the Kingdom of Heaven. Through our lord Jesus Christ, thy son, who was anointed with the oil of joy before his fellows and vanquished the powers of the air with the virtue of the Cross, who destroyed Hell and overcame the Devil’s kingdom, and rose victorious to Heaven, in whose hand all victory, glory, and power consist, and who lives and reigns with thee, God in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.”
15. The coronation.
“May the Lord crown thee with a crown of glory and justice, with honour and works of fortitude, that through the office of our blessing, with correct faith and the many-fold fruit of good works, you might reach a crown of the realm everlasting, by the largess of Him Whose realm and empire endures forever and ever, amen.”
16. The handing-over of the sceptre.
“Take this sceptre, sign of royal power, to wit, the rightful rod of the realm, the rod of the virtue with which thou mayest rule thee thyself and the holy Church; that is, defend with royal virtue the Christian people committed to thee by God from the unrighteous, correct the corrupt, direct the righteous that they might hold to the right path by thy aid, so that you might go from a worldly kingdom to the Kingdom Eternal, by aid of Him Whose realm and empire endures without end, forever and ever. Amen.”
17. Blessings.
“May the Lord God Almighty, who said to his servant Moses, ‘Speak unto thy brother Aaron, and say to his sons, “On this wise ye shall bless my people”, and I will bless them’, bless thee and keep thee. Amen.”
18. “May He shine His face upon thee, and have mercy upon thee. Amen.”
19. “May He turn His face to thee, and gave thee peace. Amen”
20. “May He reach out the hand of His blessing, and pour upon thee the gift of his propitiation, and envelop thee with the happy wall of His watchful protection, by the interceding merits of Saint Mary and all the saints. Amen.”
21. “May He forgive thee the evils which thou hast done, and bestow upon thee the grace and mercy for which thou hast humbly besought Him: and may He free thee from all adversity, and from all the plots of enemies visible and invisible. Amen.”
22. “May He multiply the abundance of His blessing upon thee, and confirm in thee the hope of a Heavenly Kingdom. Amen.”
23. “May He correct thy acts, amend thy life, arrange thy customs, and lead thee to an inheritance of heavenly Paradise. Amen.”
24. “May thou be filled with such intention as might please Him in perpetuity. Amen.”
25. “May He place His good angels always and everywhere to proceed, accompany, and follow thee, for thy protection; and may He liberate thee by His power from sin and sword, and from the crisis of all perils. Amen.”
26. “May He convert thine enemies to the benignity of peace and charity, and make those hateful to thee pleasing and friendly, and may He visit confusion upon those who persevere in hatred and criticism of thee; may an eternal sanctification flourish upon thee. Amen.”
27. “May the Lord always make thee victorious and triumphant over enemies visible and invisible, and fill up thy heart with fear and love of His holy name, and make thee to persevere in right faith and good works, and, having granted peace in thy days, lead thee to a kingdom everlasting with the crown of victory. Amen.”
28. “And may He who has wished to establish thee as king over the people bestow happiness in the present age and a consortship in eternal happiness. Amen.”
29. “May He cause thee to happily govern the clergy and people, whom He has wished by His generosity to place under thy rule, by His dispensation and thy administration through long-lasting time; for which reason, obeying divine commands, being free from all adversity, abounding in good works, serving thy ministry with faithful love, may they be fruitful in the tranquillity of peace in the present age, and merit to become with thee consorts of the heavenly citizens. Amen.”

sacre_louis2_france_02
A thirteenth-century depiction of Louis the Stammerer’s coronation (source)

As we’ll see later on, this ordo later became extremely influential. Some of it is based on the ordo Hincmar wrote in 869 for Louis the Stammerer’s father, Charles the Bald’s, inauguration as king of Lotharingia. (Jackson argues that at least some of these formulae came from a ceremony for Charles’ father Louis the Pious in 835, but I’m not sure what I think about that.) That said, one of the most influential parts of this ordo, the bishops’ petitio and the king’s promissio, were innovations in 877, and the reason for their presence is, I think, fairly particular to the time. Look, I like defending certain kings with a bad reputation as much as anyone, but Louis does seem to have spent his time up until 877 managing to convince most of his nobility – and certainly his father – than he was untrustworthy and incompetent. Hence, when Charles went to Italy for the second time just before his death in 877, he issued a capitulary at Quierzy intended to ensure that Louis would exercise as little real power as possible during his absence [edit: and Charles has kindly given a link to his English translation of this in the comments]. The specific clause being referenced in this promissio, which Hincmar actually gives in his annals, is a fairly generic one about the importance of protecting the Church. But that they reference this specific text suggests something more menacing. Louis’ accession had been opposed by a clique of the most powerful magnates in the kingdom, and the reference to Quierzy in the promissio, I think, indicates a veiled threat: ‘we don’t really trust you’. [Alternatively, it’s occurred to me, it could be the opposite. Hincmar wasn’t one of this opposition, and the clause in question is the Carolingian equivalent of Mom and apple pie; so I’d maybe be more likely to say that Hincmar was picking out the bit of Quierzy that everyone could rally around…]

In terms of a broader view of kingship, the formula for handing over the sceptre (no. 16) illustrates a very traditional view of royal ministerium, wherein the king must defend the Christian people and defend the erring. On the other hand, the most important part of the text for future coronations was the anointing formula at no. 14 (God Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth…). Its importance will largely come out in comparison with the texts to follow, but here I just want to point out that the reference to the oil of the Holy Spirit anointing ‘priests, kings and prophets’ is taken from prayers to bless the oil. Putting it here, though, changes the meaning so as to put the roles of the three closer together, moving kings more in a priestly direction. This may well be seen as some of those increasingly-spectacular late-Carolingian claims for royal authority that we’ve talked about on this blog before…

Finally, as a note to contemporary relevance, it’s worth noting that no. 13 above (God who takes care of the people etc…) was used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. Hincmar’s words live on! Tune in on Friday for the next ordo I’ll be discussing, that used for the coronation (one of the coronations) of King Odo in 888.

Reading the West Frankish Coronation Liturgy, pt. 0: Introduction

So as I write this I am sitting pretty in my office in Tübingen (actually as I write this I’m on a train to Hamburg, but as I edit and post this, I’ll be sitting in my office in Tübingen [and so it proved to be]); and that means the blog’s back up! I’ve got a bunch of ideas for new blog posts, but to get things back into shape around here I’ll be posting over the next month or so, at a speedier rate than usual, a series of translations of and short commentaries on late- and post-Carolingian coronation ordines.

So what is a coronation ordo? Short version: it’s a liturgical outline of the procedure to be followed when making a king, like an order of service. This definition doesn’t actually work all that well – not least because not every text we’ll be looking at is a) a liturgical text, or b) prescriptive – but it’ll do.

What’s the interest? Political thought, is the short answer. Liturgical documents aren’t exactly Hobbes’ Leviathan, but they are, as Janet Nelson put it, clusters of symbols which reflect something about expectations of kingship. The tenth century was a period of tremendous creativity in composing new ordines, and even given the inherent conservatism of the genre, observing what changes and influences can be seen should hopefully prove enlightening.

Even if it doesn’t enlighten me, liturgical texts are rarely translated, so hopefully this will prove useful for someone

couronnement_d27un_prince_-_sacramentaire_de_charles_le_chauve_lat1141_f2v
Coronation of a ruler, from the Sacramentary of Charles the Bald (source)

Disclaimers up front: at the most basic, liturgy is a very difficult field to try and break into, for (in my opinion) three main reasons. The first is that the manuscript traditions of some of these ordines can be rather divergent, and liturgists like having lumper/splitter type arguments to make the average Wikipedia writer blanch. The second is that attaching many of these documents to specific events is extremely difficult, and when you can’t do that, determining when the ordines were composed (which could be much earlier than the earliest surviving manuscript witness) is also extremely difficult, and frankly I’m not really qualified to do it. The third is that liturgists are very bad at explaining their terms: there’s quite a lot of technical language that it is just assumed one will understand. My suspicion is that this is because for a long time most liturgists became liturgists because they were already invested in the Catholic mass and thus had no need to learn the basics that someone from a lukewarm Methodist background like me wouldn’t have the first idea about. Consequently, liturgical experts might find some of the commentary amateurish. If so, speak up in the comments! This blog is a sketchpad, and especially when breaking new ground, rather more for me to learn than to teach.

More practical disclaimers: I’ve based the translations on the printed editions rather than the manuscripts; where there are notable variants (which really only happened a couple of times), I’ve chosen one, mostly for reasons I’ll signal but sometimes arbitrarily. Because after about 900 we can’t actually connect texts to specific events, any comments I make on that front are guesses; any comment made on that front is a guess, but mine are less educated than some. I’ve also omitted a few texts, all from the late ninth century, because that’s not really where my interest lies, and there are quite a lot of them. The other thing I’ve omitted are formulae for making queens, because I’m interested in male rulership, and also because there’s actually a very good article on queen-making ordines by Jinty Nelson.

As far as translation goes, I’ve distinguished between formal ‘you’ and informal ‘thou’, largely because it seems like the right register for Church services of this type.

Well, that took longer than I’d envisaged. Come back this evening for the first text I’ll be covering, Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims’ ordo for the coronation of Louis the Stammerer in 877!

Source Translation: A Royal Privilege of Free Election

Hello readers. I meant to post something about my research today, I really did; I realised last week that the last time I actually posted directly about it was over a month ago. However, my time at the minutes is taken up with finishing everything I need to do in Brussels before I move to Germany, which would be fine except it turns out that the last bit of writing that’s got to be finished before the end of this month is really hard, you guys. With that in mind, here’s a translated source that I’m using for that very piece, a diploma of Best King Ever Charles the Simple, issued in 913 to the Church of Trier, granting them the right to freely elect their bishops.

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity and singular Godhead. Charles, by the preordination of divine providence, glorious king. Since the whole body of God’s holy Church should be cared for by priestly oversight and administration and royal tutelage, and since royal majesty ought to be of one mind with the ministers of the Lord, We judge it equitable to proffer assent to the petitions of Our pontiffs, beseeching Us concerning churchly business, by whose prayers We believe that We and the state of Our realm are ceaselessly supported. Therefore, let the industry of all who follow the Christian religion and Our faithful men, present and future, know that Ratbod, the venerable metropolitan of the holy see of Trier, and Our archchaplain, providing for and mindful of the welfare of the church committed to him in future like a provident and good shepherd, asked Our Highness that We might conceded a privilege of Our authority to his see concerning episcopal elections after his death. Freely acquiescing to his pious petition, out of respect for the divine and reverence of the blessed Peter, and due to his love and faithfulness, We commanded this privilege of Our present letters be made, earnestly commanding and sanctioning with the inviolable stability of perpetual firmness that after the death of this bishop, whomsoever the clergy and people of Trier might by common consent elect from amongst the very sons of the same Church should be given to them, by God’s favour, as bishop without contradiction from any party; nor might they be compelled against their will and against canonical authority to receive as a pastor any person they have not chosen. And if, perchance, which We little believe will come to pass, no-one suitable can be found in that church, who is worthy of being given up to an honour of this kind, let an election not be denied to them thereby and Our privilege broken, but rather let them receive from royal majesty whomsoever else they might wish to elect. If it should come to pass, moreover (as is seen to have happened recently in the election of certain bishops) that the votes of the electors are divided, let royal authority favour the part of him on whom the clergy and the men of better intention agree, those who are proven to pursue God’s cause and the salvation of the Lord’s flock, and let the one so chosen be established over them as bishop in accordance with their election. And that this authority of Our privilege might in God’s name obtain firmer vigour of everlasting stability through all times to come, and be inviolably conserved by Our successors, We confirmed it below with Our own hand, and We commanded it be marked with the impression of Our seal.

Sign of the most serene king, lord Charles.

Gozlin the notary witnessed and subscribed on behalf of Archbishop and Archchancellor Ratbod.

Given on the ides of August (i.e. the 13th) in the 1st indiction, in the 21st year of the reign of the most glorious king Charles, in the 16th of his renewal, in the 2nd of his acquisition of a larger inheritance.

Enacted at Thionville. Happily in the name of God, amen.

(I actually have no idea what the reference to contentious elections in other sees is referring to. The ongoing disputes over the bishopric of Strasbourg in the 900s and 910s, maybe?)

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Trier Cathedral today (source)

The writing style here is a little unusual; like many contemporary diplomas for the Church of Trier, it appears to have been written by that church’s writing staff, with less involvement by royal personnel. Nonetheless, there’s an intriguing sign here of attitudes to royal involvement in episcopal elections. There was a simmering dispute in the ninth century about whether or not royal involvement should be active or passive; that is, whether or not the royal power actually played a role in making a bishop a bishop or whether it simply removed itself as an obstacle. Men such as Florus of Lyon and Hincmar of Rheims (the latter of whom said ‘kings only agree, they don’t elect’) argued at one time or another for the latter, but over time it is clear that the former position removed competition.

This is neatly illustrated by this charter. Compared to other, earlier, diplomas granting similar rights, Charles actually gives up more power – usually, for instance, kings reserve the right to pick someone if no-one suitable can be found within the recipient church; here, it is specified that Trier can pick anyone, even if from outside Trier itself. However, it also rhetorically emphasises the role of kings more: royal authority and royal majesty play an active part as agents, even if what this might involve in practice has probably not changed all that much. The difference is that here and now, it is being perceived as being much more active and participating much more directly. This, I think, is a key part of that specifically-late-Carolingian political culture that we’ve discussed here before, and it would go on to have knock-on effects that would reach for centuries – but that is perhaps something for another time…

Source Translation: Charles the Bald’s Proclamation against a Traitor Archbishop

Today finds me en route to charming Aberdeen, where I’ll be taking part in the Bishops’ Identities, Careers and Networks conference (and as I write this I realise I’ve forgotten my little cartoon Lambert of Liège badge, which makes me very sad). However, lest you should fear that I would abandon you, dear readers, I have (for once) prepared something special for today: a translation of the Libellus contra Wenilonem. This text, usually thought to have been written for King Charles the Bald perhaps by Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims (whom this blog has encountered before, it being hard to avoid him when dealing with the Frankish episcopate) in 859. In 858, Charles’ persistent difficulties with the Neustrian part of his realm had come to a head, and a group of major nobles had invited Charles’ elder brother King Louis the German to become ruler in the West Frankish kingdom. Thanks in large part to his support from the West Frankish episcopate, Charles was able to beat off Louis and re-establish his rule.

There was one major exception to the general support Charles received from his bishops, and that was Archbishop Wanilo of Sens. Wanilo had crowned Charles, but switched sides to Louis and; well, let’s hear Charles’ side of the story:

[EDIT: Latin text here.]

 

The outline of lord king Charles’ case against Wanilo, archbishop of Sens, promulgated by his own hand before archbishops Remigius of Lyons, Herard of Tours, Wanilo of Rouen, and Ralph of Bourges, chosen as judges from amongst a holy synod of twelve provinces, held in the diocese of Toul, in the suburb of the same city which is called Savonnières, in the year of the Incarnation of the Lord 859, in the 7th indiction, on the 18th kalends of July [i.e. 14th June].

Chapter 1: Because, as Saint Gregory said and you know to be true from time immemorial, kings in the kingdom of the Franks come from one dynasty, by divine provision, my lord and father Emperor Louis of pious memory gave me, like my royal brothers, a part of the realm. In this part of the realm, the metropolitan archbishopric of Sens happened to be lacking a pastor; so, in accordance with the custom of my predecessors as king and with the consent of the holy bishops of that archbishopric, I gave it to Wanilo to govern – at that time, he was serving me as a cleric in my chapel. He commended himself to me after the fashion of free clerics, and swore an oath of fidelity, and I got all the bishops of my entourage to ordain him as archbishop in Sens.

Chapter 2: After that, there came to pass between my brothers and I the well-known settlement concerning the division of the realm, as a result of which I received a portion of the division to hold and govern, with mutual oaths on the parts of us and our followers, in the manner whereof the leading men of the whole realm had devised. Like the other bishops present, Wanilo swore to me and my brothers, with his own hand, to uphold in future this division between me and my brothers in future as, in essence, my supporter. Wanilo also confirmed the peace and agreement of mutual aid between me and my aforesaid brother Louis with an oath.

Chapter 3: After his election, by the will, consent and acclamation of the rest of the bishops and the other faithful of Our realm, in his diocese, at the city of Orléans, in the church of Sainte-Croix, Wanilo and other archbishops and bishops consecrated me as king in accordance with Church tradition, and anointed me to rule the kingdom with sacred chrism, and elevated me to the throne with a diadem and royal sceptre. As a result of this consecration, I ought not to have been overthrown or supplanted by anyone, at least not without a tribunal of and judgement by bishops, by whose ministry I was consecrated as king, who are called the ‘Thrones of God’, in whom God sits and through whom He declares His judgements; and to whose paternal reproofs and castigatory judgements I was prepared to submit myself and now submit myself to.

Chapter 4: Then, when sedition had begun to grow within Our realm thanks to impudent men, by the consent of Our bishops and other followers, we wrote a mutual agreement concerning how I, with the Lord’s help, intended to act towards them, and how Our same followers ought thereafter to bring me solace through help and counsel. At the estate of Bayel, Wanilo subscribed this document with his own hand, as you can now see.

Chapter 5: After that, when Our followers and I had, as you know, gone to fight the pagans [the Vikings] at the island of Oissel on land and sea, some defected from Us and fled. Wanilo, however, returned to his own see, saying he was too infirm to go to Oissel. But while We remained there, girded for battle although under strength, Our brother Louis, as you know, invaded Our realm from his own with hostile intent, accompanied by seditious men. Wanilo went to his assembly without my agreement and permission. He knew that he wanted to supplant me. No other bishop from Our realm did this.

Chapter 6: Moreover, when I, in the company of those faithful to God and me, marched against my aforesaid brother and my enemies and those with him, who plundered the Church and pillaged the realm, he sent no help, either in person or through the due assistance which my royal ancestors and I had been accustomed to have from the church committed to him, even though I sincerely asked this of him.

Chapter 7: I then had reason and need to retreat from my aforesaid brother at Brienne. My brother Louis returned to my kingdom for this reason: that he might steal my nephew [King Lothar II] from me and take my men from me and violently oppress my followers. Wanilo went to my aforesaid brother Louis with all the help he could muster, acting against me. With him were excommunicate and seditious men of this realm, concerning whose excommunication he had received letters from his fellow bishops. And Wanilo celebrated public masses for my brother and the seditious men who accompanied him, in my palace of Attigny, in the diocese and province of another archbishop who was loyal to Us, without the permission and consent of his fellow bishops, and for excommunicates and the accomplices of excommunicates. And it was in that council and by his counsel (as much as Lothar’s counsellors’) that my nephew Lothar was stolen from me through lies, and the consolation and help due from him and promised by an oath was taken from me.

Chapter 8: Wanilo was no less present amongst the counsellors of my aforesaid brother in dealings both public and private, with his special favourites and amongst the foremost of his entourage, along with, as We said, those excommunicated by episcopal judgement and condemned by the judgement of the realm. This was so that my oft-mentioned brother might gain and I might lose that part of the realm concerning which my same brother and Wanilo swore an oath to me, and in which Wanilo had consecrated me as king.

Chapter 9: Wanilo advised and discussed how the bishops who owed me sworn fidelity and ought to give me the counsel and help they had confirmed with their own hands might desert me and give their service and obedience to my brother Louis.

Chapter 10: He obtained from my brother Louis a precept concerning the abbey of Sainte-Colombe and goods and honours in my kingdom, and asked for letters to send to agents who could retake the same abbey, Heccard and Theodoric.

Chapter 11: In the same letters to the aforesaid agents, Wanilo procured my brother Louis’ order that they should have permission to take stones from the wall of the castle of Melun, which rightly belongs to royal power. This shows how he endeavoured to cherish and tried to support him amongst all the people of the realm bestowed on me by God.

Chapter 12: Wanilo was present in council and dealings with the aforesaid excommunicates, where it was considered how those men who were loyal to me and had promised me loyalty with an oath might willingly or unwillingly swear loyalty to my brother Louis and give him help, and how he could obtain my kingdom from me. And Wanilo was not only present in council, but he himself gave the same counsel to my brother Louis, against the loyalty which he had promised me by an oath.

Chapter 13: Wanilo, both in person and through his companions, to wit, the abovesaid excommunicates, got my brother Louis to give a vacant bishopric, to wit, that of the city of Bayeux, to his kinsman, my cleric Tortald, who had commended himself to me and sworn an oath of loyalty. He, acting unfaithfully towards me and against the loyalty he had promised me, accepted the same bishopric with the consent of my brother Louis.

Chapter 14: Finally, after God, through the assistance of my followers against my brother, had given me the strength to recover, I came to Wanilo’s city. He knew to come to me against my brother to recover my realm; and offered no help, either in person with the counsel he had promised and signed off on, or through the soldiers who are usually provided by the church committed to him.

 

Wanilo reconciled with Charles later in 859, although his name became a by-word for treachery in later generations. There are a few things that could be said about this, but in the name of space I’ll limit myself to just one, relating to Chapter 3. It’s been said that there was no theory of deposition in Carolingian times, but Charles’ statement that he could, in theory, have been removed as king by a council of bishops looks very much like one. It does look as though Charles is accepting the legitimacy of the very procedure whereby his father Louis the Pious was deposed in the 830s (although in that case the deposition didn’t stick). It’s also remarkably favourably to the Church – admittedly correcting the ruler and giving him admonition and guidance is very much a bishop’s role at this point; but I have trouble imagining this idea coming from the court of Charles the Simple whilst it was justifying itself in handing out bishoprics like Halloween candy. So I have a question for the audience, if anyone’s working on a later period: does this ever get cited?  I can imagine Gregory VII (as a bishop who claimed the right to depose rulers) enjoying this one, but does it ever actually come up?

Source Translation: The Spectrum of Kingship in Ninth-Century Brittany

And we’re back. Hello everyone, happy 2017, hope your new year hasn’t had as many onrushing deadlines as mine has. This week, I want to show you a Breton charter from 869. It’s a long ‘un, but a good ‘un. The scenario: Salomon, ruler of Brittany, is giving a grant to the abbey of Redon, on the borderline between Breton-speaking Brittany and the former Frankish province of Nantes, now under Breton rule. The charter goes as follows (and I’ve experimented in this translation with using a slightly more formal register, which may or may not work…):

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity. Salomon, by grace of God, prince [princeps] of the whole of Brittany and a great part of the Gauls.

Be it known unto all of Brittany, as well bishops as priests and all the clergy, and also besides counts and other noble leaders [duces] and mighty warriors [milites] and all those subject to Our dominion, that the venerable abbot Ritcand, with certain of his monks, though yet bringing the petition of all the others, approached Our presence, in my monastery which is in Plélan, in which place I had aforetime held my court.  Yet under the threat of the Northmen, Abbot Conwoion, carrying the prayer of his monks, approached Us and Our venerable spouse Gwenvred, and sought not once nor even twice a place of refuge for him and his monks in the face of the Northmen. Proffering assent to them, We not only gave unto them the aforesaid hall, but also ordered be built from Our public goods in the same place a monastery by no means base in honour of the holy Redeemer, as a refuge for the aforesaid monks, to gain a heavenly inheritance and the redemption of our souls, and forsooth for the present and everlasting prosperity of Our offspring, and all Our realm, and for the most peaceable steadfastness [stabilitas] of Our fideles; which place also We wished to name ‘Salomon’s monastery’.

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The Cartulary of Redon, in which this charter is preserved (image source)

Therein even now Abbot Conwoion lies interred, and Our venerable spouse Gwenvred too rests honourably interred; and therein I as well, by the counsel of the nobles of Brittany, both priests and laymen, vowed to have my body buried, should the most pious clemency of God deign to grant it me. And, for the increase of the joy and peace of all Brittany, I had the most holy Maxentius, the greatest gift passed unto Us by God, placed therein, a thing the like of which was unheard of amongst Our people in times past [OR: a man who had not been heard of as coming amongst Our people in times past], to Aquitaine’s sorrow and Brittany’s light, praise, and honour.

And then, coming to this place on the 15th Kalends of May [17th April], the day of the Resurrection of our Saviour, to pray to the holy Redeemer and the venerable Maxentius, I bestowed on the aforesaid holy Redeemer and Saint Maxentius and the aforesaid monks other gifts from Our treasury which were with me, as much as pleased Our inclination at that time, to gain the Kingdom of God and for the redemption of Our soul and the stability of the realm. That is:

  • a golden chalice of fine gold, made with marvellous workmanship, having 333 gems, costing 10 pounds [libras] and 1 shilling [solidus]; and its paten, having 145 gems, costing 7 and a half pounds;
  • and the text of the Gospels, with wonderfully-made golden cover, costing 8 pounds and having 120 gems;
  • and a great golden cross, of wonderful workmanship, weighing 23 pounds and having 370 gems;
  • and one case [capsa] wonderfully carved from Indian ivory, and – which is more precious – full of most splendid relics of the saints;
  • a precious priestly chasuble, chequered on the outside and interwoven with gold [extrinsecus interstinctae {sic} ex auro cooperatam], which my godfather [compater], the most pious king of the Franks Charles [the Bald], sent to me as a great gift – for such it is;
  • and a pallium of wonderful size to go over the saint’s body;
  • and, to cap the wonders, and in sooth by the virtue of Saint Maxentius, sent, by God’s providence, before his dispatch to Brittany, I acquired for that holy helper a Gospel-book honourably bound in gold and ivory;
  • and moreover a sacramentary [liber sacramentorum] covered in Indian ivory, then and now intended for the saint;
  • and another book decorated in silver and gold within and without;
  • and a Life of Saint Maxentius composed in prose and poetry, and containing a Life of the holy martyr Leodegar;
  • to say nothing of other gifts which I had already given beforehand, that is, an altar fashioned of silver and gold;
  • and a cross made of silver on one side and having on the other side the image of the Saviour made of the finest gold and gems;
  • and another little cross made of gold and gems;
  • and two priestly vestments;
  • and precious changeant;
  • and 3 cloaks of wondrous size.

That same day, the aforesaid Abbot Ritcand, coming with his monks, besought Us that We might deign by royal custom to receive under Our defence whatsoever Our ancestors, that is, Nominoë and Erispoë, had given, and also what I myself had given, and what other good and noble men, each in accordance with his measure, had given or would give to the holy Redeemer and the monks serving in the aforesaid monasteries [i.e. both Redon and Plélan] under the Rule of Saint Benedict; and for this We would surely be made in addition a sharer in the alms of all the said people. They also sought that We should grant to them whatever was received by Our dominion from their men and from the abbey of Saint-Sauveur [Redon], as well from dependant peasants [coloni] as from serfs and freemen [ingenui] dwelling on their land, from both meadows and woods and waters as much as from forests, in return for a hundred-fold reward in the life eternal.

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What Redon abbey looks like now; the buildings are mostly twelfth-century (image source)

Favouring their petition, by the counsel of Our nobles, We, to gain the Kingdom of God and for the redemption of my soul and my relatives and sons, and for the stability of the whole Brittanic realm, released unto them wholly and entirely as much as is owed to me and my men from their abbey, both from the upkeep of horses and dogs [pastu caballorum et canum] and from messenger service [angariis] and all dues, and thus I give and transfer it from my dominion to their power, such that whatever was received for Our advantage should thereafter all benefit their advantages and the brothers’ stipends, so that the monks might delight to pray to more joyfully and devotedly exhort the mercy of the Lord for Our salvation and that of the Christian people. We forbid that no-one should after this day presume to disturb them over this matter in Our times or those to come.

We also establish and command that any cause or quarrel concerning the monks or their men which was not aired against them or their men in the time of Abbot Conwoion should never be aired; and should anyone endeavour to receive any toll or census or any render from their men carrying out their business whether by sea or on land or on any river; rather, let everything profit the advantages of the aforesaid monks.

This was done in the pagus called Poutrocoët, in Plélan, in the aforesaid monastery which is called Salomon’s monastery, on the 15th Kalends of May [17th April], on Sunday, on the 1st day of the lunar cycle, in the 2nd indiction, in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord 869.

Salomon, prince of all Brittany, who gave this donation and asked it be confirmed, witnessed. Abbot Ritcand, who acceped, witnessed. Riwallon and Wicon, sons of the aforesaid Salomon, witnessed. Ratvili, bishop of Alet, witnessed. Pascwethen witnessed. Bran witnessed. Nominoë, son of Bodwan, witnessed. Ronwallon, son of Bescan, witnessed. Drehoiarn witnessed. Iaruocon, his son, witnessed. Ratfred witnessed. Tanetherht witnessed. Hinwalart witnessed. Catworeth witnessed. Hetruiarn witnessed. Sidert witnessed. Trethian witnessed. Kenmarhoc witnessed. Guethenoc witnessed. Arvidoe witnessed. Salutem witnessed. Hedrewedoe witnessed. Hidran witnessed. Gleudalan witnessed. Koledoc witnessed. Balandu witnessed. Tenior witnessed. Arthnou witnessed. Eucant witnessed. Woran witnessed. Gleu witnessed. Chourant witnessed. Abbot Ronwallon witnessed. Judhocar the priest witnessed. Bili the cleric witnessed. Conwoion the cleric witnessed. Haelican the priest witnessed. Egreval the priest witnessed. Richard the priest witnessed.

There are several interesting things to note here, but the one I’d going to concentrate on is that Salomon is, basically, putting on airs. This charter takes many of its forms from Carolingian royal diplomas – the invocation of the holy and indivisible Trinity, the address clause (‘be it known’), the way Abbot Ritcand humbly approaches Salomon, the fact Salomon acts ‘by royal custom’, the way he forbids his men from taking revenues from abbatial land (a clause taken from an actual Carolingian diploma issued for Redon by Charles the Bald); all this is very much biting Carolingian style.

Thing is, Salomon’s kingship is a bit up-in-the-air. Sometimes, he is called a rex – a king; other times, he is a dux or (as in this case) a princeps. Sometimes, indeed, he’s both a king and not a king in the same charter. Of course, this needn’t necessarily mean that he’s less a king – the current king of Spain, for instance, is also duke of Milan, representing the fact that, historically, the kings of Spain were also dukes of Milan. The royal title doesn’t lose meaning because of the ducal one.

However, Salomon is not a modern monarch, but an early medieval one, and things are a bit different there. This charter is a good example of that – the scribe borrows some but not all of the features of a royal diploma. Carolingian kings, for instance, don’t have witness lists. Could the scribe have left out the witness list? Sure: evidently Salomon’s royal status wasn’t seen as sufficiently convincing that simply assuming wholesale the features of Carolingian kingship was a viable move. Salomon is a kind of quasi-king, assuming some but not all of the attributes of kingship.

In a Breton context, this makes sense: in 869, Breton monarchy was a relatively new idea. Before the time of Charlemagne (and here I repeat the arguments of Caroline Brett), most references to Breton rulership, at least in the eighth century, refer to multiple, unnamed rulers, implying a situation where the Bretons were ruled by many chiefs rather than one king. The transition to a situation under which Brittany was ruled by only one ruler appears to have happened under Frankish pressure, and at least in part with Frankish collusion – Nominoë, the most important sole ruler of the Bretons, was actually set up by the Frankish emperor Louis the Pious in the early ninth century. Breton monarchy was new, and it was also unstable. Salomon had murdered Nominoë’s son Erispoë to get the throne and would in turn be murdered about five years after this charter was issued. Under such circumstances, it makes sense that his political presentation might involve a degree of caution.

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He still got canonised, though, because that’s how nationalism works (image source)

There are other things that could be said about this charter – the significance of books as gifts to the saints, the amount of moveable wealth Salomon can draw on, the fact he has the effrontery to try and gain the benefits of the alms given to Redon by Erispoë, the man he murdered. Still, in the name of not testing your patience, I’ll stop here. Next week, a research post on violence and the tenth-century.