TitleVisions of Community, III: Shadows of Empire - 10th- and 11th-Century Reactions
Date/TimeWednesday 9 July 2014: 16.30-18.00
SponsorSonderforschungsbereich 42 'Visions of Community: Comparative Approaches to Ethnicity, Region & Empire in Christianity, Islam & Buddhism, 400-1600', Universität Wien / Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
OrganiserKelly Gibson, Department of History, University of Dallas, Irving
Rutger Kramer, Onderzoeksinstituut voor Geschiedenis en Kunstgeschiedenis, Universiteit Utrecht
Moderator/ChairSimon MacLean, School of History, University of St Andrews
Paper 1318-a Changes in Documentary Practice in the Late 9th and Early 10th Century: The Evidence of Royal Charters - The Case of St Gallen
(Language: English)
Bernhard Zeller, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Index Terms: Charters and Diplomatics; Manuscripts and Palaeography; Monasticism; Political Thought
Paper 1318-b Worrying about Hungarians in the Early 10th Century: An Exegetical Challenge
(Language: English)
Maximilian Diesenberger, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Index Terms: Biblical Studies; Mentalities; Political Thought; Religious Life
AbstractFrom the late 9th until the 11th century, Europe underwent a series of fundamental changes in its social, political and cultural makeup, due to pressures from without and from within. Perceptions of kingship and empire were evolving, whereas changing political constellations forced the nobility to reconsider their priorities, enabling local magnates to offer alternatives to central authorities. The wages of empire led to changes in mentality: continuous church reform efforts and political (de)centralization changed the status of ecclesiastical institutions, and required those in power to keep renegotiating their position vis-à-vis their peers, regardless of whether they were friends or enemies.

Against this background, Bernhard Zeller will explain how such changes affected the makeup, content and output of royal charters. Focusing on the monastery of Sankt-Gallen, he will demonstrate how these changes were not the result of a cultural decline, but a reflection of deeper underlying dynamics instead. Max Diesenberger will then recontexualise perceptions of Hungarians in the early 10th century. Based on a letter from Francia, composed specifically to cope with the perceived threat posed by this people, he will demonstrate how the strategies of distinction employed by contemporary commentators were heavily influenced by their own visions of the world around them – and vice versa. Finally, Daniel O'Gorman will take us to the Anglo-Scandinavian world, where he will re-examine the audience and purpose of the anonymous Encomium Emmae Reginae, composed c. 1040 during the reign of Harthacnut, son of Cnut. This work recognizably shares in a tradition of historical narratives composed when the ruling dynasty was under severe political pressure and which were intended to stress the value of that dynasty for its subjects. Particular emphasis is laid on the author's delicate treatment of Cnut and his son's position as not simply kings of England, but rulers of the short-lived and chronically unstable Anglo-Scandinavian Empire.