IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 723: Framing the Frankish World: Historiography and Scripture

Tuesday 11 July 2006, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Helmut Reimitz, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Paper 723-aRhetorics of Passions and Episcopal Superiority in Merovingian Gaul
(Language: English)
Nira Pancer, Department of General History, University of Haifa
Index terms: Mentalities, Social History
Paper 723-bAnnales Guelferbytani: A Transforming Image of Carolingian Politics in the Reign of Charlemagne
(Language: English)
Ildar Garipzanov, Centre for Medieval Studies, Universitetet i Bergen
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Mentalities, Philosophy
Paper 723-cNothing's Worth: The Context of the De substantia nihili et tenebrarum
(Language: English)
Symke Haverkamp, Instituut Geschiedenis, Universiteit Utrecht
Index terms: Philosophy

Abstract paper -a: An examination of a corpus of Merovingian sources and mainly Gregory of Tours’ Decem libri historiarum, this paper seeks to demonstrate that the systematical attribution of unrestrained passions to the aristocratic elite, or at least the exaggeration of their depiction, denotes a long-running ideological struggle which aims at the de-legitimization of the secular authority and the foundation of a new balance of social powers favorable to the episcopate.

Abstract paper -b: Contemporary studies demonstrate that Carolingian annals were strongly affected by the place of production and by the agenda of their authors. They also show the changing views on the nature of the annalistic narrative and on the historical time and space constituting it. The Guelferbytan Annals, which did not attract scholarly attention after their publication in 1826, provide a peculiar example of those influences and changing perceptions in the local annalistic narrative composed in Regensburg in 812-813. Although recording events well-known from other sources, The Guelferbytan Annals provide an insight in how the transformation of the Carolingian polity was perceived on a local level.

Abstract paper -c: Early in the 9th century, perhaps as early as 800, Fredegisus of Tours (d. 833) wrote a letter to Charlemagne, the De substantia nihili et tenebrarum. This letter has received a great deal of scholarly attention, which has mostly been concerned with its philosophical and Patristic content. Very little attention has been given to the function of the text in the context of the Carolingian renaissance. I would like to advance the interpretation that the writer of this letter did not intend to adopt a position in a philosophical debate. Rather it is written as two ‘encyclopaedic’ lemmata, meant to clarify the words ‘nothing’ and ‘darkness’, and how to read them when encountered in the context of Scripture. The performative act of the letter is not one of adopting a specific stance in a philosophical polemic, but instead of developing a scholarly instrument in the study of Scripture.