Release:2017, Vol. 3. №4
About the author:Dmitriy N. Starostin, Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Assistant Professor, Department of the Medieval History, Institute of History, Saint Petersburg University; firstname.lastname@example.org
This study attempts to evaluate and assess Carolingian “historicism”, which is the knowledge of history within the system of political self-identification and legitimation. Thus, the author sets two main goals. The first is to show that the consensus in relationship to the key events in the history of the Carolingian kingdom appeared in the historical writings because of a complex processes of negotiating between the alternative visions of the Carolingian rule. The second is to investigate this process of consensus negotiating as a social phenomenon and as a consequence of Charlemagne and his court’s need to take into account and accept the opposite opinions of the Frankish history that had emerged as a response of the local magnates to the incessant military campaigns.
Thus, this paper aims to show that in an attempt to shape its own vision of history, the Carolingian educated people were not only to construct their own narrative, but to do so in achieving consensus regarding history with the versions of the past that had emerged in annals and chronicles of local provenance and that emphasized the importance of local elites over that of the Carolingian court. The coronation of Pippin III and a number of events from the reign of Charlemagne (like the uprising of the Thuringians in the 780s) are used as model cases to establish the process whereby the alternative versions were reconciled and sometimes merged into one.
The novelty of this study is in applying this model to the representation of the Battle of Tertry, the history of which as the key event of the Carolingian history was developed only in the chronicles related to Saint Arnulf of Metz — the city, which had been viewed as the symbolic and sacral heritage by the Carolingians. At the same time, as this study suggests, the description of this battle was fragmentary and its importance subdued in the sources that originated in the places located away from the Carolingian center of authority, like Lorsch. This shows that the Carolingians felt themselves relatively limited in manipulating historical discourses. The representation of authority was constructed in the Carolingian period as a historical reminiscence, the legitimation of which was achieved in the process of communication between the ruler and his educated subjects, among which were both his court scholars and educated people in regional monasteries like Lorsch, whose origin lay in the local elites.