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Title: Cupiditate Ducti: Corruption in the Carolingian World
Authors: van Doren, Jan
Advisors: Reimitz, Helmut H
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Carolingian
Louis the Pious
Political Theory
Public sphere
Subjects: Medieval history
Public administration
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The maintenance of justice was one of the mainstays of public power exercised by Carolingian rulers and their subordinates. It was an important responsibility, which, when upheld by a just emperor and his righteous helpers [adiutores], would ensure the equity and well-being of the Carolingian empire and its inhabitants. Conversely, the corruption of public officials threatened to undermine the justice and public order of the realm, and thus its well-being in both a practical and a spiritual sense. As a result, the causes, practices, and implications of corruption were frequently discussed throughout the reigns of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious.These deliberations not only helped shape the ambitions and limitations of Christian public governance in the eighth and ninth centuries, but also inspired far-reaching attempts by the imperial court to surveil, correct, and discipline the men supposedly in its service. It is with these initiatives to circumscribe and address corruption, as represented in the capitularies, charters, and admonitory documents issuing forth from the court, its collocutors, and its purported public servants, that this dissertation is concerned. It argues that we must take the Carolingian courts’ multiple reforms to fight corruption seriously, even if they appear unsuccessful, half-hearted, or hypocritical to our modern eyes. To that end, this study investigates the strictures from Carolingian admonitory sources in concert with their enactment in predominantly royal charters: it is there that the Carolingian court, its representatives, and its subjects in the empire’s localities met. At the intersection between court and countryside, expectations of justice were communicated, and instances of corruption discovered, deliberated, and, ideally, addressed. At this junction where private and public interests met, a complex world of shared convictions but competing interests is revealed, in which the evolving category of corruption played a defining role.
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Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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