The growth of an Austrasian identity: Processes of identification and legend construction in the Northeast of the Regnum Francorum, 600-800

Hans Stegeman

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    In the 6th and 7th centuries the kingdom of the Franks was divided in three sub-kingdoms, ruled by the Merovingian dynasty: Neustria (West), Burgundy (Southeast) and Austrasia (Northeast). This study addresses developments in and characteristics of Austrasia, concluding that a specific Austrasian identity developed between 600 and 800, which later deeply influenced the Carolingian period.
    The characteristics of Austrasia are analyzed through three approaches: kingship, the way Austrasians dealt with the sacred, and the relationship between aristocrats and kings. The analysis uses mainly narrative sources, among which are the Chronicle of Fredegar (c. 660), the Annales Mettenses Priores (c. 805) and several saints’ Lives (Vitae Amandi I and II, Vita Arnulfi, others).
    Concerning kingship, the study traces the development of the concept of kingship as an “office”, which is illustrated by Fredegar’s approval of a decent Austrasian kingship, carried by aristocratic counselors. The Austrasian way of dealing with the sacred – while contributing to a kingship concerned with orthodoxy and correctness – is characterized by the construction of a missionary ideology which became an important element of the Austrasians’ self-perception. Analysis of the relationship between Austrasian aristocrats and their kings shows the growing influence of aristocrats on Austrasian kings, which at the time when power was passing from the Merovingians to the Carolingians helped form Frankish kingship.
    These developments regarding kingship, the sacred and the position of the aristocracy show how Austrasian kings and their aristocratic counselors, as well as Austrasian saints and monasteries, contributed to the formation of an Austrasian "Kulturraum”.
    Translated title of the contributionDe groei van een Austrasische identiteit: Processen van identificatie en legende-constructie in het noordoosten van het Regnum Francorum, 600-800
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • de Boer, Dick, Supervisor
    • Heidecker, Karl, Co-supervisor
    Award date22-May-2014
    Print ISBNs978-90-367-7010-1
    Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-7009-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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