IMC 2009: Sessions

Session 806: Texts and Identities, VII: The Formation of an Emperor - Lothar I

Tuesday 14 July 2009, 16.30-18.00

Sponsor:Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien / Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies, Universiteit Utrecht / Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
Organisers:Maximilian Diesenberger, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Gerda Heydemann, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien / Institut für Geschichte, Universität Wien
Marianne Pollheimer-Mohaupt, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Moderator/Chair:Mayke de Jong, Instituut Geschiedenis, Universiteit Utrecht
Paper 806-aModels for an Emperor: The Influence of Lothar's Early Career (795-840)
(Language: English)
Elina Screen, Magdalen College, University of Oxford
Paper 806-bThe Middle Kingdom between 843 and 855: Some Reflections on the Effectiveness and Motives of Lothar's Reign
(Language: English)
Maria Schäpers, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Index terms: Administration, Military History, Political Thought, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 806-cSpiritual Power for an Emperor: Lothar I and the Use of Biblical Texts
(Language: English)
Marianne Pollheimer-Mohaupt, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Abstract

The figure of Lothar I is, in modern scholarship as well as in the sources we have from the 9th century, a rather ambiguous one. Dealing with different aspects and different periods of his career, this session will focus on his formation as an emperor, on models that may have influenced his ideas of imperial rule, and on the strategies he applied to implement his rule as an emperor.
Lothar I came to adulthood while his father, Louis the Pious, was sub-king of Aquitaine, and played a prominent part in the complex politics of Louis’s reign (814-840). Louis’s reign was a time of significant developments in ideas of royal ministerium and Christian reform, as well as in Frankish relations with the papacy. In the first paper, Elina Screen will explore the ways in which the events and ideas of Lothar’s earlier career shaped his thinking and practice, and formed the later emperor.
In the Treaty of Verdun (843), Lothar I and his brothers divided the regnum Francorum into three parts, putting an end to the violent conflict over the succession to their father’s throne; from then on Lothar ruled the so-called Middle Kingdom reaching from Frisia to Italy. Researchers have often depicted his reign over this ‘artificial kingdom’ as passive and even; his designation as emperor seemed to be only a courtesy title. However, there are many details in our sources which show that Lothar took much greater care of his Middle Kingdom than has been previously assumed. He was also deeply involved in the affairs of his brothers’ kingdoms and seems to have taken the title of emperor more seriously than has been suggested so far. Maria Schäpers will take a new look at these details, especially in terms of the motives for Lothar’s decisions and the overall effectiveness of his reign.
The role that the Bible and the figures it provided as role models played at the Carolingian courts is still under discussion. Especially from the 840s onward, Lothar showed a strong interest in biblical studies, asking for particular biblical commentaries and exegetical collections. Like his father, Louis the Pious, he appropriated and applied the spiritual power of the Bible and texts that were related to it, and used it in order to establish and strengthen his position within the Carolingian realm. Marianne Pollheimer will investigate the role that biblical texts played at Lothar’s court and how they may have shaped his notion of Christian rule.