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
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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.

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.