Folcuin and the politics of writing institutional history after the end of the Carolingian Empire
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This thesis examines the relationship between politics and the writing of institutional history (cartularies and gesta) after the end of the Carolingian Empire (888) from the perspective of Folcuin of St-Bertin and Lobbes (fl. 948-90). After the empire collapsed, long-form narrative histories were mainly written about other centres of power than the royal court, such as religious institutions, and reflected local historical horizons as institutional identities became stronger nodes around which to write history in response to political fragmentation. This thesis nuances this view by placing Folcuin and his histories in as broad a context as possible for the first time. Chapters I and II explore how the politics of Folcuin’s oblation to the Flemish abbey of St-Bertin related to the writing of what many consider to be the first cartulary-chronicle, the Gesta abbatum Sithiensium. Folcuin’s partisanship in a hitherto unknown conflict between certain Baldwinid counts and their Unruoching relatives for power in St-Bertin and Flanders permeated the text, thus challenging the view that the earliest west Frankish cartularies necessarily created shared institutional identities in relation to reform. Chapters III and IV examine how the politics of Folcuin’s promotion to the abbacy of Lobbes and Ottonian rule in Lower Lotharingia related to the composition of the Gesta abbatum Lobiensium. Folcuin’s argument in favour of members of the Ottonian dynasty against their (pro-)Reginarid rivals for power over the abbey and region shaped his representation of monastic history, thus challenging the view that he initially wrote in response to his relations with Rather of Verona. Institutional history could offer contemporaries a means to situate themselves and their communities in a changed political landscape, not by re-establishing their identities around shared institutional pasts, but by aligning them with members of rival families, competing relatives, and still-inchoate political orders in the turbulent world of post-Carolingian politics.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationalhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Embargo Date: 2027-12-15
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Restricted until 15th December 2027
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