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Remembering Troubled Pasts: Episcopal Deposition and Succession in Flodoard's History of the Church of Rheims

Roberts, Edward (2019) Remembering Troubled Pasts: Episcopal Deposition and Succession in Flodoard's History of the Church of Rheims. In: Greer, Sarah and Hicklin, Alice and Esders, Stefan, eds. Using and Not Using the Past after the Carolingian Empire, c. 900-c.1050. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-367-00252-7. (KAR id:75501)


When Flodoard came to write his great History of the Church of Rheims around 950, he was faced with some challenging episodes from his church's past. Bishop Egidius, for instance, had been deposed in 590 after being found guilty of treason against King Childebert. Bishop Rigobert had been banished from the city in 717 by Charles Martel and replaced with Milo, a notorious pseudo-cleric who apparently ruled the bishoprics of Rheims and Trier in union for forty years. There was also Archbishop Ebbo, infamously compelled to resign the see in 835 for his leading role in the rebellion against Emperor Louis the Pious. And, as Flodoard experienced firsthand, Archbishop Hugh had very recently been excommunicated following a long-running dispute over the archdiocese. In a work dedicated to the greatness of the church of Rheims, how did Flodoard deal with such plainly disreputable episodes? This paper examines how episcopal memories were received and reshaped in tenth-century Rheims. Although one of Flodoard's main purposes was to enunciate a principle of apostolic succession - to trace an unbroken line of prelates from his own day back to Sixtus, the city's first bishop - he could not simply ignore controversial figures and infamous episodes. Recent events prompted Flodoard to reinterpret some of these controversial episodes, to search for merit in his church's more notorious prelates and thus to idealise Rheims' past. At the same time, Flodoard's narrative was shaped by an uncommonly attentive scrutiny of and faithfulness to the sources he had before him. In the History, we thus see Flodoard juggling the competing demands of his task as an historian and of his mission to memorialise his church's illustrious past.

Item Type: Book section
Projects: Bishops, Canon Law and the Making of the Medieval Church, 875-1025
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Funders: Leverhulme Trust (
Depositing User: Edward Roberts
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2019 09:00 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2022 10:41 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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