Emperor of the World: Charlemagne and the Construction of by Anne A. Latowsky

By Anne A. Latowsky

Charlemagne by no means traveled farther east than Italy, yet by way of the mid-tenth century a narrative had started to stream concerning the pleasant alliances that the emperor had cast whereas traveling Jerusalem and Constantinople. This tale received vast forex through the heart a long time, showing usually in chronicles, histories, imperial decrees, and hagiographies—even in stained-glass home windows and vernacular verse and prose. In Emperor of the World, Anne A. Latowsky strains the curious background of this medieval fantasy, revealing how the reminiscence of the Frankish Emperor used to be manipulated to form the associations of kingship and empire within the excessive heart Ages.

The legend contains apocalyptic subject matters resembling the succession of worldwide monarchies on the finish of Days and the prophecy of the final Roman Emperor. Charlemagne's apocryphal trip to the East more and more resembled the eschatological ultimate trip of the final Emperor, who was once anticipated to finish his reign in Jerusalem after reuniting the Roman Empire sooner than the final Judgment. rather than relinquishing his imperial dignity and handing the guideline of a united Christendom over to God as anticipated, this Charlemagne returns to the West to begin his reign. Latowsky reveals that the writers who integrated this legend did so that you can help, or often times to criticize, the imperial pretentions of the regimes less than which they wrote. New types of the parable may resurface now and then of transition and through sessions marked via robust assertions of Roman-style imperial authority and clash with the papacy, such a lot significantly in the course of the reigns of Henry IV and Frederick Barbarossa. Latowsky eliminates Charlemagne's encounters with the East from their long-presumed Crusading context and indicates how a narrative that started as a rhetorical regular of imperial compliment developed over the centuries as an expression of Christian Roman universalism.

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Extra info for Emperor of the World: Charlemagne and the Construction of Imperial Authority, 800-1229

Sample text

Einhard is not inventing history out of whole cloth, but is rearranging the material from the annals to fit a predetermined pattern for writing imperial praise. After this creative establishment of the western extreme of his geography, the biographer does the same for the East by introducing Harun, king of the Persians, who sends gifts from his native land, followed by the Greeks. 24. 22. ” 25. 22. 26. 22. 27. Ganshof, Carolingians and the Frankish Monarchy, 3. CAROLINGIAN ORIGINS 27 The second-century historian Florus, whose abbreviated history of Rome has been identified as a source for the Royal Frankish Annals,28 provides an expanded version of the foreign embassy topos in the finale to his history.

The solicitations of friendship by Harun and the Greek emperors therefore constitute the biographer’s own version of a ninth-century reunited Christian imperium in a sort of makeshift Pax Romana. 53 A discrepancy in the presentation of embassies to and from Jerusalem in the two works provides further evidence of his efforts to conform to the norms of imperial biography. 54 Einhard strikingly removes the patriarch from the story in favor of listing only Harun’s gifts to Charlemagne: robes, spices, other gifts, and the elephant.

26 E M P E R O R O F T H E WO R L D the weary travelers from his post in Spain, which is the symbol of the far reaches of the West in the language of praise for a ruler’s universal dominion. 26 In his presentation of Charles’s “deeds in peace,” Einhard creates his own version of the foreign embassy motif. He reports the submission of Alfonso, king of Asturias and Galicia, and the Irish kings (Scottorum) who sought his friendship by means of letters. As with the exchanges with Harun, here, too, historians have been unable to substantiate Einhard’s claims.

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