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«CHARLEMAGNE: THE MAKING OF AN IMAGE, 1100-1300 By JACE ANDREW STUCKEY A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN ...»

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CHARLEMAGNE: THE MAKING OF AN IMAGE, 1100-1300

By

JACE ANDREW STUCKEY

A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL

OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT

OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Copyright 2006 by Jace Andrew Stuckey My dissertation and all of my work is dedicated to my wife Shannon. Without her support none of this would have been possible. I would also like to dedicate this work to my daughter, Elizabeth, who was born the semester that I graduated. She has become an inspiration to me.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I want to thank my family and friends for their support while I was pursuing my graduate degrees. I want to thank all of my professors and especially my committee members, Dr’s Curta, Hasty, Hatch, Landes, and Sommerville for their dedication and invaluable advice while I was writing the dissertation. I especially want to thank Dr.

Florin Curta, my advisor, for his tireless efforts in editing and advising me on my dissertation and for his dedication to training me as a historian. I will always consider him to be my mentor.

iv

TABLE OF CONTENTS

page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ABSTRACT

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

Historiography

Sources, Theory and Methodology

2 CHARLEMAGNE AND THE MILITES CHRISTI: MAKING MYTH INTO

HISTORY

Roland

The Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle

Aspremont

Elements of the Crusade

Interpretation and Adaptation ofRoland

Propaganda, Crusade, and Charlemagne

Conclusion

3 CHARLEMAGNE AND MEDIEVAL KINGSHIP: THE MAKING OF AN IDEAL

Defining Kingship and the Limits of Power

Roland

The Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle

Aspremont

Kingship, Legitimacy, and Social Order

The Crowning of Louis

Willehalm

Suger, the Abbey of Saint-Denis, and the Cult of Kingship

Conclusion: Kingship and Memory

v4 THE ‘UNMAKING’ OF AN IDEAL: CHARLEMAGNE AND THE FEUDAL ORDER

The Rebel-Baron Cycle

The Song of Girart de Vienne and Le Pélerinage de Charlemagne

Contradictions of Kingship

Beyond France

The Crusades

Le Pélerinage de Charlemagne

Girart de Vienne

Conclusion

5 THE MAKING OF ROYAL HISTORY: THE CONVERGENCE OF TRADITION AND MYTH

Capetian Propaganda

Blood-Line and Medieval Statecraft

Karolinus

Kaiserchronik

Ethnicity and the Legacy of the Crusades

The Grandes Chroniques

Charlemagne in the North: The Karlamagnus Saga

Conclusion

6 CONCLUSION

LIST OF REFERENCES

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

–  –  –

Chair: Florin Curta Major Department: History The image of Charlemagne represents one of the most highly developed historical and literary legends of the Middle Ages. His representation ranges from the majestic to the bland; from grandiose to weak and from a saint to a despot. He exemplified the greatest of military heroes and stood as the champion of Christianity, while at the same time his character and the sources in which it appears illustrated many of the problems of an unstable feudal world. By the twelfth century, the former Carolingian King and Emperor represented the greatest attraction of any historical character of the medieval period. The image of Charlemagne extends from early Latin panegyrics such as De gestis Karoli Magni by the Monk of St. Gall of the ninth century to the grand epics and romance works of the twelfth to fifteenth centuries such as the Chanson de Roland.

At the center of this dissertation is a study of the representation of Charlemagne in twelfth and thirteenth century literature. The focus of my analysis is on a representative collection of sources that were produced in France, Germany, Italy, and Scandinavia.

They date from 1100 to 1300. I focus on popular images of crusading, religion, and

–  –  –

image of Charlemagne had on crusaders’ ideals, crusading activities, and views on Christian kingship.

The impact of the crusades forced three worlds into escalated conflict that would forever transform the political, cultural, and religious landscape of Europe and the Middle East. The impact on medieval literary genres was nearly as dramatic. From epic to romance, churchmen and poets of this period quickly incorporated the crusading themes into their work. The literature of this period represents a militant and religious culture that found its ethos and role models in the lives of former kings, emperors and conquerors and especially in that of Charlemagne. The crusading ethos dominated some of the most popular genres of that time and acted as propaganda for a culture that embraced chivalric values, and increasingly became a society that exported its militarism in the name of religion. My research has yielded a number of conclusions. I argue that the literary sources had a tremendous influence on Western views of crusade, kingship, and the creation of vernacular history. The deeds of Charlemagne served as a precedent for the crusades and an example for future kings.





–  –  –

“Charlemagne, claimed by the Church as a saint, by the French as their greatest king, by the Germans as their compatriot, by the Italians as their emperor, heads all modern histories in one way or another; he is the creator of a new order of things.”1 As late as the 1820’s, the legend of Charlemagne for historians such as Sismondi represented the embodiment of an age-old ideal and a crucial part of modern European identity and ethnicity. Why was Charlemagne, a figure from the distant past, able to achieve such high status and command such enormous respect?

The image of Charlemagne represents one of the most highly developed historical and literary legends of the Middle Ages. Arguably, no figure, not even the illustrious King Arthur, was able to achieve the far-reaching, continent-wide appeal and popularity of Charlemagne. His representation ranges from the majestic to the bland; from grandiose to weak and from a saint to a despot. He exemplified the greatest of military heroes and stood as the champion of Christianity, while at the same time his character and the sources in which it appears illustrated many of the problems of an unstable feudal world. By the twelfth century, the former Carolingian King and Emperor represented the greatest attraction of any historical character of the medieval period. The image of Charlemagne extends from early Latin panegyrics such as De gestis Karoli Magni by the J.C.L. Simonde de Sismondi, Histoire des Francais, vol. 2 (Paris: Treuttel and Wurtz, 1821), p. 217;

quoted in Robert Morrissey, Charlemagne and France: A Thousand Years of Mythology, trans. Catherine Tihanyi (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003), p. xvii.

Monk of St. Gall of the ninth century to the grand epics and romance works of the twelfth to fifteenth centuries such as the Chanson de Roland.

At the center of this dissertation is a study of the representation of Charlemagne in the twelfth- and thirteenth-century literature. The significance of the chronological bracket becomes obvious to anyone familiar with crusade history. The dissertation examines the popular images of crusading, religion and kingship as linked with the portrait of Charlemagne. The approach used is inter-disciplinary in that I use primarily literary sources to answer questions of a fundamentally historical nature. Many historians do not focus on literary sources when dealing with the image of Charlemagne.

Ideas of religion, kingship, and crusading were common in many literary sources.

Combining these sources with various historical sources, such as chronicles, allows historians to get a better idea of how and why the image was formed.

The crusading period (c. 1096-1291) is a crucial period in medieval history. The impact of the crusades of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries forced three worlds into escalated conflict that would forever transform the political, cultural, and religious landscape of Europe and the Middle East. The impact on the medieval literary genre was nearly as dramatic. From epic to romance, churchmen and poets of this period quickly incorporated the crusading themes into their work. The literature of this period represents a militant and religious culture that found its ethos and role models in the lives of former kings, emperors and conquerors and especially in that of Charlemagne. The crusading ethos dominated some of the most popular genres of that time and acted as propaganda for a culture that embraced chivalric values, and increasingly became a society that exported its militarism in the name of religion.

The focus of my analysis is on a representative collection of sources that were produced in France, Germany, Italy, and Scandinavia. They date from ca. 1100, just after the First Crusade, to ca. 1300. In an attempt to capture the multi-faceted alteration of Charlemagne’s image depending upon the cultural context, I chose texts written in French, German, and Italian, as well as Latin. The relatively long period covered by this study is designed to provide sufficient room for comparison.

The twelfth and thirteenth centuries are important in a number of respects. This is the period that C.H. Haskins in his famous book labeled the “Twelfth Century Renaissance.” There was significant Church reform in this period (particularly concerning the investiture controversy). There was an increase in the translations of scientific and literary works of the Greek corpus and this was the time of the rise of the university. In addition, there was considerable political and social change. However, it is the literary development that is of interest to this research project.

–  –  –

The representation of Charlemagne as a crusader, and ideal king, and the familial predecessor of the Capetian ruling family in the sources of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries is quite common. The historiography of this period is extremely diverse and dense. My goal, of course, is to develop a viable historical perspective of the representation of Charlemagne as he appears in the most vernacular literary and historical works in Latin of the crusading era.

Because the research is centered primarily on the literature of the crusades and in some ways the crusaders themselves, it will be necessary to deal with a number of secondary materials concerning both subjects. The crusades have been well researched over the last fifty years and will serve as an important backdrop to the dissertation. Many studies by Kenneth Setton, Carl Erdmann, and Jonathan Riley-Smith have made strong contributions in the field. Their work, along with many others, has demonstrated not only the importance of the field, but its complexity as well. However, most of the work tends to focus on the political and religious conditions rather than on the cultural and literary aspects.

Given the great popularity of crusade-related topics among students of the Middle Ages, there is surprisingly little work done on crusading propaganda. My dissertation attempts to fill that gap by examining literary works rarely used as historical sources by traditional historians. In doing so, my dissertation engages with current work in cultural history focusing on the influence of texts on social reality. In that respect, it is both an elaboration of and engages with the innovative approach taken by Paul Freedman in Images of the Medieval Peasant.2 Freedman’s approach combines traditional intellectual history with the newer cultural focus. Freedman uses literary and artistic sources to demonstrate their effect on perceptions and treatment of medieval peasants. The emphasis is on the impact the representation of Charlemagne had on crusaders’ ideals and crusading activities. The image is used as a kind of propaganda for crusading. My interest is in the use and abuse of crusading imagery rather than the Crusades per se. As such, my work builds upon and contributes to current debates about literary work in shaping historical context.

In addition, there is little, if any, attention given to the role of the image of Charlemagne in that body of crusading literature. Many scholars who have studied the image of Charlemagne in the literature of the period see it as a portrait of a highly Paul Freedman, Images of the Medieval Peasant, (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1999), p. 295.

idealized past. On the other hand, the literary studies often fail to give the much-needed historical perspective. In some ways, the work of Gabrielle Spiegel has helped to bridge this gap.3 Her work on the development of medieval historiography during the twelfthand thirteenth-centuries is really key for my analysis on the use of the image of Charlemagne in different contexts. In particular, her research indirectly indicates that literary representations and “legends” were able to make their way into the vernacular and royal historiography of the Late Middle Ages.

Charlemagne is perhaps the most popular historical figure of the Middle Ages. He has been celebrated as king, emperor, the unifier of Europe, the founder of France, and the defender of Christendom. However, although there is a great amount of scholarship concerning the epic literature, there is not a concerted effort to isolate and analyze the Charlemagne aspect as it relates to the crusades. In addition, there has not been a study that looks at the various regions that the literature was produced and then compares and contrasts these images. It is important to approach the topic from an interdisciplinary perspective in order to gain a wider outlook. In a number of ways, the literary and historical image of Charlemagne created in the twelfth-century mirrored that of a glorified knight and crusader. The image was created by the society and culture that traveled to the Holy Land and participated in the crusades.



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