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Kingship and Politics in the Late Ninth Century

Kingship and Politics in the Late Ninth Century
Charles the Fat and the End of the Carolingian Empire

£77.00

Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series

  • Date Published: September 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521819459

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  • This is a major study of the collapse of the pan-European Carolingian empire and the reign of its last ruler, Charles III 'the Fat' (876–888). The later decades of the empire are conventionally seen as a dismal period of decline and fall, scarred by internal feuding, unfettered aristocratic ambition and Viking onslaught. This book offers an alternative interpretation, arguing that previous generations of historians misunderstood the nature and causes of the end of the empire, and neglected many of the relatively numerous sources for this period. Topics covered include the significance of aristocratic power; political structures; the possibilities and limits of kingship; developments in royal ideology; the struggle with the Vikings and the nature of regional political identities. In proposing these explanations for the empire's disintegration, the book has broader implications for our understanding of this formative period of European history more generally.

    • Focuses on the end of the Carolingian empire or on the reign of its last ruler Charles the Fat
    • Offers an alternative interpretation of the end of the empire, an important event in European history
    • A broad-ranging study which contributes to debates about the nature of early medieval royal power and legitimacy, political structures, and kingship
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… MacLean provides an important rereading of the reign of the last Carolingian emperor which has far reaching consequences for historians of post-Carolingian Europe … his arguments have important implications for the prevailing interpretations of the tenth century …' History

    '… this is an excellent book and makes many important contributions to a period that deserves to be better known and understood.' English Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2003
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521819459
    • length: 288 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • contains: 8 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of maps and figures
    Acknowledgements
    List of abbreviations
    Note on names, terminology and citations
    Outline chronology
    1. Introduction
    2. Un-Frankish activities: Charles the Fat in the eyes of contemporary annalists
    3. The men who would be kings: the 'supermagnates' and the 'rise of the aristocracy'
    4. Royal politics and regional power in the late Carolingian empire
    5. The end of the Empire I: politics and ideology at the east Frankish court
    6. The end of the Empire II: response and failure
    7. History, politics and the end of the empire in Notker's Deeds of Charlemagne
    8. Conclusion
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Simon MacLean, University of St Andrews, Scotland
    Simon MacLean is Lecturer in History at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

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