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Plenty of Puff

Charles West: Charlemagne, 19 December 2019

King and Emperor: A New Life of Charlemagne 
by Janet Nelson.
Allen Lane, 704 pp., £30, July 2019, 978 0 7139 9243 4
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... Charlemagne’s empire prefigured a democratic, open and pluralist Europe. In her new study, Janet Nelson does things quite differently. Taking an approach which she says is ‘in some ways that of an old-fashioned biographer’, she offers a Charlemagne who is not the father of Europe. In fact, he is not even ‘Charlemagne’: ...

Ceremonies

Rodney Hilton, 21 January 1988

Rituals of Royalty: Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies 
edited by David Cannadine and Simon Price.
Cambridge, 351 pp., £25, August 1987, 0 521 33513 2
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... under imperial power, an emphasis especially directed at foreigners and the emperor’s subjects. Janet Nelson’s account of Carolingian ritual, especially under Charlemagne, interestingly downgrades its profile. She presents Charlemagne as un-autocratic, socially agreeable to the Frankish imperial nobility and to the higher clergy. It was the clergy ...

Barbarians

Stuart Airlie, 17 November 1983

Medieval Germany and its Neighbours 900-1250 
by K.J. Leyser.
Hambledon, 302 pp., £18, February 1983, 0 907628 08 7
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The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians 751-987 
by Rosamond McKitterick.
Longman, 414 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 582 49005 7
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Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society: Studies presented to J.M. Wallace-Hadrill 
edited by Patrick Wormald, Donald Bullough and Roger Collins.
Blackwell, 345 pp., £27.50, September 1983, 0 631 12661 9
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... given an idea of the nature of that culture. It is a great pity that she did not take up Dr J.L. Nelson’s suggestion that Dhuoda’s stress on the role of the father in the family mirrored developments in the social structure affecting the world of politics – Dr McKitterick’s avowed concern, after all. But she is reluctant to touch on such ...

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