The ideas and practices involved in early medieval royal family politics are the central theme of this collection of papers by Janet L. Nelson. She first examines King Alfred of Wessex (871-99) in the context of Anglo-Saxon conditions and in comparison with his Carolingian contemporaries. When tension and conflict within the royal family are highlighted, she argues that Alfred’s talents and political thought emerge the more impressively. A second group of papers deals with the reign of Charles the Bald (840-77): his patronage of learning and his interest in Spanish martyrs are set in political context, while contemporary historiography is considered as a form of counsel and critique. The third section reflects Nelson’s growing interest in the political importance and gendered roles of royal women. Consecration rites are analysed as ritual expressions and factors in the shaping of the queenship, while two final papers also examine the making and unmaking of Frankish kings and princes.
Table of Contents
Contents: Alfred: ’A king across the sea’: Alfred in continental perspective; Wealth and wisdom: the politics of Alfred the Great; Reconstructing a royal family: reflections on Alfred from Asser, chapter 2; The political ideas of Alfred of Wessex; ..sicut olim gens Francorum...nunc gens Anglorum: Fulk’s letter to Alfred revisited; The Franks and the English in the 9th century reconsidered; Charles the Bald: Charles le Chauve et les utilisations du savoir; The Franks, the martyrology of Usuard and the martyrs of Cordoba; History-writing at the courts of Louis the Pious and Charles the Bald; La mort de Charles le Chauve; Frankish queens and princes: A propos des femmes royales dans les rapports entre le monde wisigothique et le monde franc Ã l’époque de Reccared; La famille de Charlemagne; The siting of the council at Frankfort: some reflections on family and politics; La cour impériale de Charlemagne; Early medieval rites of queen-making and the shaping of medieval queenship; A tale of two princes: politics, text and ideology in a Carolingian annal; Hincmar of Rheims on king-making: the evidence of the Annals of St Bertin, 861-882; Index.
'The appearance of a new collection of essays from Professor Nelson merely needs to be signalled for its importance to be apparent.' Reviews in History