Hope, George Alexander
The political development of the Carolingian Kingdom of Lotharingia, 870-925.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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The subject of this thesis is the Carolingian regnum of Lotharingia in the years between the Treaty of Meersen in 870 and its incorporation into the kingdom of Henry I in 925. Traditionally, the history of this half-century in Lotharingia is told in conventional terms. Despite the loss of its king in 869 and subsequent division in 870, the regnum Lotharii apparently remained a coherent geo-political structure which, in maintaining a permanent presence in the landscape, provided a focus for contemporary political action, and thus a suitable and straightforward topic of subsequent historical investigation.
This thesis challenges that traditional approach and demonstrates that, for much of the initial period following 870, the regnum Lotharii was precisely not such a coherent structure. Arguing that standard methodological approaches are flawed in seeing the survival of terminology as evidence of permanence in the political landscape, this thesis offers a more nuanced explanation, and shows that the terminology survived because it provided an elastic political legacy that could be deployed at opportune moments by either kings, or their challengers, in constructing images of their own power and authority.
Lotharingia was a politically active unit by the early years of the tenth century and this thesis proceeds to show its emergence. It again exposes traditional explanations as unsatisfactory. This thesis offers an alternative explanation by proposing the emergence of a distinct aristocracy in Lotharingia only at the end of the ninth century. In re-examining the narrative and charter evidence, the thesis reveals this new identity as a reaction to a moment of crisis within the ranks of one particular aristocratic community. It was not a residual identity from an earlier period of political independence waiting for reactivation.
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