HIST 203 Lecture Outline (Fall 2016 – Week 7)

Week 7: Tuesday



Carmina Carolingiana (Carolingian music, 65:47 min.):

Planctus de obitu Karoli (Lament on the death of Charlemagne, by a monk of Bobbio, 9th cent.; 9:25 min.):

Incipit planctus Karoli (Lament on the death of Charlemagne, 10:01 min.):

Late Carolingian music, from an Acquitainian manuscript (MS lat. 1154) of the late 800s-early 900s (3:48 min.):

Click here for family trees of the Merovingian kings (481-751) and the Carolingians (751-987)

Seal-ring portrait of Childeric I (c. 440- c. 481), son of Meroveus (Merovech) and father of Clovis, from his tomb in Tournai

Map of the Merovingian kingdoms

A Merovingian map (8th cent.) showing the Mediterranean world (North is to the left)

7th C. Weak Merovingian “sluggard kings”; division of Francia (Neustria, Austrasia, Burgundy) and rise of mayors of the palace
680-714 Pepin of Heristal, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, conquers Neustria (687) and establishes Carolingian hegemony over Burgundy as well

714-741 Charles Martel (“the Hammer”)

716-754 St. Boniface of England: missionary to Frisians and Germans, and reformer of Frankish Church (shown here in an 11th-cent. manuscript from Fulda)
726-843 Iconoclasm Controversy in Byzantine Empire
726 Pope Gregory II (715-31) incites tax revolt against Byzantines in Ravenna
729 Lombards and Byzantine exarch (viceroy) temporarily unite to besiege Rome; pope reconciles with them
731-41 Pope Gregory III holds a synod denouncing iconoclasm (731); rebuilds walls of Rome after Ravenna falls to Lombards (temporarily) in 733; when Lombard King Liutprand marches on Rome, Gregory sends embassies begging military aid (739 and 740) to Charles Martel, who does not reply.
732 Defeat of Muslim army at Tours

741-768 Pepin the Short

740s “Donation of Constantine” (forgery by papal chancery, claiming imperial status for pope; click here for the text and for a 13th-cent. painting of this fictitious event)

Lombards capture Ravenna and expel Byzantines; query from Pepin to Pope Zacharias I (741-52)

(“Who should have the crown?”) results in coronation of Pepin (by Boniface, at Soissons) and alliance between Franks and papacy

754 2nd coronation of Pepin, by Pope Stephen II (at St. Denis), leads to Pepin’s campaign against Lombards and grant of lands to papacy (“Donation of Pepin”)

768-814 Charlemagne (“Carolus magnus” = Charles the Great):

Map of Europe at Charlemagne’s death in 814
Partition of Charlemagne’s empire in 843 by the Treaty of Verdun

771-804 Conquest of Saxony and Bavaria
774 Conquest of Lombards (Charlemagne henceforth styles himself “King of the Franks and the Lombards”)
778 Campaign against Spanish Muslims; Count Roland killed by Basques at Roncevaux (or Roncesvalles); establishment of Spanish March
790s Destruction of Avars
794 Establishment of permanent capital at Aachen (or Aix-la-Chapelle), with palace school headed by Alcuin of York (shown here presenting his student, Hrabanus Maurus, to St. Martin of Tours).

See also:
Christmas 800 Crowned “Emperor of the Romans” by Pope Leo III (795-816) at St. Peter’s, Rome (both are shown here, kneeling before St. Peter, in a 9th-cent. mosaic from the Lateran Palace).

See also:

Important terms include:

  • Count
  • Margrave
  • Missi dominici (royal emissaries)

Primary sources include:

  • Capitularies (laws, ordinances)
  • Einhard, Life of Charlemagne
Week 7: Thursday


Old Roman chant: “Inveni David servum meum” (7th century? 7:31 min.):

Gregorian chant: “In cena domini: de missa solemni vespertina” (Plainsong melodies for the commemoration of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday; 53:50 min.):

Some achievements of the “Carolingian Renaissance” (later 700s-800s):

  • Capitulary of 789 mandated schools in every cathedral and monastery to teach students and to correct and copy texts (more than 90% of extant Classical Roman texts owe their survival to Carolingian copyists)
  • Every monastery required to follow Benedictine Rule (reiterated 817-840, with expanded Rule)
  • Accurate new edition of Latin Bible produced by Alcuin of York (d. 804)
  • New, clear script developed (“Caroline minuscule“) Click here for another example (a Carolingian gospel book, British Library, MS Add. 11848)
  • History of the Lombards and book of model sermons written by Paul the Deacon (d. 799)
  • Encyclopedia and handbook on clerical instruction written by Rabanus Maurus, abbot of Fulda (d. 856)
  • Neo-Platonic texts translated (from Greek) and written by John Scotus Eriugena (d. 877)
  • Lives of saints written by Walafrid Strabo, scholar, poet, and gardener, tutor to Charles the Bald, and abbot of Reichenau (d. 849; click here for a plan of his garden)

Weaknesses of Charlemagne’s empire:

  • Very unwieldy to govern large; multi-ethnic and multi-lingual empire; no standard laws or taxation system
  • Long-distance trade weak; transport and communications very slow and hazardous
  • Heavy reliance on personal loyalty of counts, margraves, and bishops to emperor
  • Constant expansion of empire required to pay army and aristocracy with loot and land (“pyramid scheme”)
  • Charlemagne’s son and heir (Louis the Pious) cash-poor and weak
  • Fratricidal warfare among Charlemagne’s grandsons (Lothar, Louis the German, and Charles the Bald) divides empire
  • External attacks after Charlemagne’s death (Vikings, Magyars, and Muslims)

Additional primary sources include:

Charlemagne, Capitulary De villis

Inventory of Charlemagne’s estate at Asnapium (Annapes)

Monastic annals