Kingship and Politics in the Late Ninth Century: Charles the Fat and the End of the Carolingian Empire

By Simon Maclean | Go to book overview

KINGSHIP AND POLITICS IN
THE LATE NINTH CENTURY

This is the first major study in any language of the collapse of the panEuropean Carolingian empire and the reign of its last ruler, Charles III ‘the Fat’ (876–88). The later decades of the empire are conventionally seen as a dismal period of decline and fall, scarred by internal feuding, unfettered aristocratic ambition and Viking onslaught. This book offers a fresh interpretation, arguing that previous generations of historians misunderstood the nature and causes of the end of the empire, and neglected many of the relatively numerous sources for this period. Topics covered include the significance of aristocratic power; political structures; the possibilities and limits of kingship; developments in royal ideology; the struggle with the Vikings; and the nature of regional political identities. In proposing new explanations for the empire’s disintegration, this book has broader implications for our understanding of this formative period of European history more generally.

SIMON MACLEAN is Lecturer in History at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

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