Community, cult and politics : the history of the monks of St Filibert in the ninth century.
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In the ninth century, the community of St Filibert, which was established on the island of Noirmoutier in the late-seventh century, relocated five times reportedly due to pressures caused by the invasions of the Northmen. The community produced texts during the period of relocations which emphasised the agency of the Northmen and whose testimony has been readily accepted in most subsequent historical analysis. The twofold aim of this thesis is to re-examine the body of literature produced by the community in order first to measure the narrative it provides against the paradigm of flight from the Northmen, and second to understand the nature of the texts themselves. It will argue that rather than being a community in flight, the Filibertines were involved in some of the most important concerns in the ninth-century kingdoms of Louis the Pious and Charles the Bald. They were not only at the centre of successive royal patronage circles, but they developed the cult of their patron, St Filibert, through the process of relocation in both architectural and devotional spheres. Moreover, their economic activity, which had always been a concern of theirs since the late-seventh century, developed through the use of salt-pans and vineyards as well as through the donation of exemptions from taxation on the transit of goods. Overall this thesis proposes that the ninth century was, for the community of St Filibert, a period largely dominated by growth on a number of levels and argues that the texts that put flight from the Northmen at their heart were written as a method of defining an identity for a community in flux.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy