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Title: The Oath of Loyalty and the Post-Carolingian Transformation, c.830-1000
Authors: Ward, Ian
Advisors: Reimitz, Helmut
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Carolingian
Subjects: History
Medieval history
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: In 789, Charlemagne decreed that all the free men of the realm were required to swear an oath of loyalty to him, establishing a tradition that was a vital part of Carolingian governance and royal ideology for the next century. But with the fragmentation of the empire in the later ninth century, the oath of loyalty could no longer be administered as before. This dissertation examines how the oath changed between c.830 and c.1000, in both thought and practice. It argues that the acute political disruptions of the period resulted in discontinuities in royal administration of the oath, so that the particular way in which the Carolingians used the oath was dissolved. But intellectuals building on continuities of thought responded by envisioning new possibilities for the oath. In the tenth century, they experimented with alternative traditions and introduced new ways of thinking about the oath as a social and political instrument. The discursive changes surrounding perjury and fidelity, to which the oath was essential, had real effects on political and social structures. This dissertation argues that a detailed understanding of the transformation of the oath of loyalty is central to an understanding of post-Carolingian Europe because it sheds new light on many of its most significant developments, including the sacralization of kingship, the emergence of the knightly class, and the increasing self-consciousness of the clergy.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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