Rethinking Authority in the Carolingian Empire
Rethinking Authority in the Carolingian Empire
Ideals and Expectations during the Reign of Louis the Pious (813-828)
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Prologue Great Expectations Chapter 1 Framing the Carolingian Reforms — The Early Years of Louis the Pious Building an Empire Communities and Discourse Communities Between Cloister and Court Chapter 2 A Model for Empire — The Councils of 813 and the Institutio Canonicorum The Road to 813 Teaching the Empire 'An Effort, not an Honour': Bishops and their Responsibilities Church Fathers in Aachen Correcting Communities Communicating Correctio Channelling Authority Chapter 3 Monks on the Via Regia: The World of Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel A Life in Context Directions for a King: The Via Regia Explaining A Way: The Expositio in Regulam Sancti Benedicti A Crowning Achievement: The Diadema Monachorum The Lives of Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel Chapter 4 Caesar et abba simul: Monastic Reforms between Aachen and Aniane The Emperor and the Monks On the Outside Looking In 'Armed with the Javelins of Debate': Benedict of Aniane goes to Court The Death of an Abbot Epilogue Imperial Responsibilities and the Discourse of Reforms

Reviews and Features

"In his superb new monograph, Rutger Kramer investigates the origins and manifestations of the striking, consequential self-consciousness of the Carolingian episcopate and argues that it developed during the early years of Louis the Pious's reign. [1] [...] Explicit references to Carolingian self-consciousness appear on nearly every page of Kramer's study. What Kramer shows with astonishing clarity is the extent to which the "Carolingian experiment" was characterized by--indeed, was constituted by--a constant watching, and the implications of this surveillance."
- Courtney M. Booker, The Medieval Review, 21.08.26 (2021)

Rutger Kramer

Rethinking Authority in the Carolingian Empire

Ideals and Expectations during the Reign of Louis the Pious (813-828)

By the early ninth century, the responsibility for a series of social, religious and political transformations had become an integral part of running the Carolingian empire. This became especially clear when, in 813/4, Louis the Pious and his court seized the momentum generated by their predecessors and broadened the scope of these reforms ever further. These reformers knew they represented a movement greater than the sum of its parts; the interdependence between those wielding imperial authority and those bearing responsibility for ecclesiastical reforms was driven by comprehensive, yet still surprisingly diverse expectations. Taking this diversity as a starting point, this book takes a fresh look at the optimistic first decades of the ninth century. Extrapolating from a series of detailed case studies rather than presenting a new grand narrative, it offers new interpretations of contemporary theories of personal improvement and institutional correctio, and shows the self-awareness of its main instigators as they pondered what it meant to be a good Christian in a good Christian empire.
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Rutger Kramer

Rutger Kramer is currently a post-doctoral researcher within the project Visions of Community (FWF Austrian Science Fund F42) at the Institute for Medieval Research in Vienna.