IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 610: Texts and Identities, II: Brides and Bishops - The Politics of Marriage in the Early Medieval West (i)

Tuesday 10 July 2007, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien / Centre for Late Antiquity, University of Manchester / Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
Organisers:Kate Cooper, Centre for Late Antiquity, University of Manchester
Rosamond McKitterick, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
Walter Pohl, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Moderator/Chair:Rob Meens, Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies, Universiteit Utrecht
Paper 610-bWho Married the Merovingians?
(Language: English)
Helmut Reimitz, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Paper 610-cStephen of Auvergne and the Problem of Controversial Divorce
(Language: English)
Riccardo Bof, Dipartimento di Storia, Università degli Studi di Padova
Abstract

The two sessions look afresh at politics of marriage in the early Middle Ages. Marriage alliances have often been studied in the context of political utility and power politics; more recently, the role of queens for the power balance within and between the regna has justly been highlighted. In our sessions, however, marriage alliances will be analyzed in the context of the Christianization of marriage, and of debates about what was proper and auspicious in the choice of royal (and other) spouses. Far from conforming to a ‘Germanic’ model, the early medieval politics of marriage were in fact very different in different regions. Our papers explore Ostrogothic Italy (with Theoderic’s far-reaching marriage alliances), the Lombard kingdom, Francia under the Merovingians (many of whom were in fact polygamous, and quite unrestricted in their choice of women) and then the Carolingians (who obviously avoided taking foreign wives). The six papers set out to explore these differences, reconstruct the debates that surrounded them, and review the role of bishops and of Christian models in legitimizing or criticizing them.