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Transcultural Approaches to the Concept of Imperial Rule in the Middle Ages

Edited By Christian Scholl, Torben R. Gebhardt and Jan Clauß

During the Middle Ages, rulers from different regions aspired to an idea of imperial hegemony. On the other hand, there were rulers who deliberately refused to be «emperors», although their reign showed characteristics of imperial rule. The contributions in this volume ask for the reasons why some rulers such as Charlemagne strove for imperial titles, whereas others voluntarily shrank from them. They also look at the characteristics of and rituals connected to imperial rule as well as to the way Medieval empires saw themselves. Thus, the authors in this volume adopt a transcultural perspective, covering Western, Eastern, Northern and Southern Europe, Byzantium and the Middle East. Furthermore, they go beyond the borders of Christianity by including various caliphates and Islamic «hegemonic» rulers like Saladin.

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Imperial Aspirations in Provence and Burgundy (Jessika Nowak)

Jessika Nowak (Frankfurt am Main/Freiburg)

Imperial Aspirations in Provence and Burgundy*

The recent decades have seen a rebirth of interest in the kingdoms of Provence and (Upper-)Burgundy, which were merged shortly before the middle of the 10th century. After the turn of the millennium many monographs were published, especially in France, such as those authored by Florian Mazel (2002), François Demotz (2008, 2012), Nicolas Carrier (2012) and Nathanaël Nimmegeers (2014).1 They were flanked by several anthologies: the first one, entitled Des Burgondes au royaume de Bourgogne, was published in 2002,2 followed by Le royaume de Bourgogne autour de l’an Mil, in 2008,3 and De la mer du Nord à la méditerranée.←139 | 140→ Francia media, une région au cœur de l’Europe (c. 840c. 1050) in 2011 (resulting from a conference held in 2006).4 A forth and a fifth book dealing with Saint-Maurice, the ‘heart’ of the kingdom of Burgundy, were produced in 2012 and 2015.5 Other volumes arising from conferences recently held at Freiburg,6 Paris7 and Besançon8 are forthcoming. They shed light on the kingdom(s) beyond the Alps, but hardly mention the not-so-glorious time when Rudolph II, the king of Burgundy, was also king of Italy. In Italy, however, the focus has shifted from the king’s perspective to the high lay and ecclesiastical aristocracy, as e.g. the very interesting studies of Edoardo Manarini reveal.9 But why not focus on Rudolph’s←140 | 141→ ambitions fostered in the Regnum Italiae10 and compare his aims to those of his predecessors and contemporaries from Provence? Why not contrast his attitude with that of Louis, surnamed the Blind,11 who was the king of Provence from 890 to 928 and who went to the Regnum Italiae in 900 in order to obtain the imperial crown? And why not confront it with the attitude of Hugh of Arles12, “the de facto regent for the incapacitated←141 | 142→ Louis of Provence”,13 who seized control of the Regnum Italiae and replaced Rudolph II in 926?

The sources illustrating the royal perspective are manageable and the material is conveniently available, thanks to Herbert Zielinski who recently edited three volumes of the Regesta Imperii dealing with the Regnum Italiae14 and the kingdom of Provence in those years.15 A further volume of the Regesta giving attention to the regnum of Burgundy will likely follow in 2018, edited by Andrea Hauff; the charters of the kings of Burgundy were already published by Theodor Schieffer in 1977.16 Moreover, we have at our disposal the older editions of the Italian charters assembled by Schiaparelli←142 | 143→ more than a hundred years ago17 and the charters of the kings of Provence edited by Poupardin in 1920.18

These editions all shed light on the three rulers, revealing their priorities and demonstrating their divergent behaviour as regards the imperial crown:

The first protagonist, Louis, managed to obtain the imperial crown from Pope Benedict IV in 901, but was forced by Berengar to turn to Provence in 902 and had to promise never again to set foot in the Regnum Italiae; however, he still attempted to reconquer the Regnum Italiae, failed, was blinded and henceforth led a shadowy existence in Provence.19←143 | 144→

The second protagonist, Rudolph II of Burgundy, became king of Italy, but never reached for the imperial crown.20 A lack of support eventually forced him to leave the Regnum Italiae. However, instead of disappearing into political obscurity and vegetating in darkness in Burgundy, he was ruling quite successfully. Furthermore, he resisted when some malcontent magnates invited him to return to Italy. He did not follow their request. This decision was beneficial to him, because he probably received compensation. According to Liutprand, Provence was ceded to him (or at least the lands Hugh had held in Provence before becoming king of the Regnum Italiae) in exchange for the promise not to interfere in the Regnum Italiae anymore.21

Finally, the third one, Hugh of Arles, who had only been a kind of regent before ascending to the throne of the Regnum Italiae, tried to get hold of the imperial crown, but failed in the attempt to become emperor. Nonetheless, he was at least able to transfer the royal dignity to his son Lothair.22

Therefore, we have to deal with three quite different fates: an inglorious emperor from Provence, a ruler from Burgundy disinterested in emperorship and a king whose roots were in Provence, who was longing in vain for the←144 | 145→ imperial crown and who ended up being stigmatised as a tyrant.23 We shall ponder whether it was mere coincidence that the rulers harbouring imperial aspirations originated from Provence, while the ruler who was not vying for the imperial title came from Burgundy. In addition, we shall look for factors such as family ties, assets and properties in the Regnum Italiae, or such as relations to the Papacy, which might have influenced the decision to pursue or not to pursue the imperial crown.

Family ties and Carolingian background

One difference between Louis’ and Hugh’s yearning for the imperial crown on the one hand, and Rudolph’s lack of any such desire on the other, was closely linked to the existence or non-existence of a direct blood lineage to the illustrious Carolingians. Grandfathers or great-grandfathers of both Louis of Provence and Hugh of Arles had been emperors: Louis the Blind was the son of Boso of Vienne and importantly also of Ermengard, the daughter of Emperor Louis II. Moreover Louis was (quasi) a filius adoptivus of Emperor Charles the Fat,24 and in the Italian charters he referred to his imperial ancestors.25 Drawing on similar roots, Hugh of Arles was the son←145 | 146→ of Theobald, Count of Arles, and of Bertha, the illegitimate daughter of Lothair II, and therefore the great-grandson of Lothair I.26 Rudolph II also referred in his Italian charters to his imperial predecessors,27 but he could not point to any ancestors who had been crowned emperor.28

To be sure, having and referring to imperial relatives did not represent a mandatory requirement for aspiring emperors in those days. Rudolph’s opponent Berengar of Friuli29 who had succeeded in being crowned em←146 | 147→peror in 915 by the hands of John X certainly was the son of Gisela, the daughter of Louis the Pious. However, his opponent, Guy of Spoleto,30 had substantial claims to the crown of Italy at his disposal and even got hold of the imperial crown without possessing this kind of maternal link to the Carolingian emperors.

Patrimony, possessions and bonds in the Regnum Italiae

A further dissimilarity between Hugh and Rudolph II might have represented a crucial factor for nourishing or not nourishing imperial aspirations and for succeeding or failing to maintain the rule in the Regnum Italiae over a longer period: Hugh’s family was deep-seated in the Regnum Italiae31 while←147 | 148→ Rudolph II lacked comparable ties. Hugh’s mother Bertha of Lotharingia32 married Albert II of Tuscany after her first husband Theobald of Arles had died and she gave birth to two sons of Albert II, Guy and Lambert, as well as to a daughter, Ermengard. Ermengard was wed to Adalbert I of Ivrea, whereas Guy became count and duke of Lucca and margrave of Tuscany following his father’s death and espoused a very powerful Roman noblewoman, Marozia, who had allegedly been the mistress of Pope Sergius III and who knew how to influence and control his successors. When Guy deceased in 928, Lambert came into the possession of Lucca and Tuscany, but was soon deposed by Hugh who preferred to provide first his (full) brother Boso and then his illegitimate son Hubert with these possessions. Hugh established a huge network. His numerous relatives received important positions in Church, too. Hubert’s brother Boso was appointed bishop of Piacenza, Hugh’s cousin Manasses, archbishop of Arles, was put in charge of the bishoprics of Verona, Mantua and Trento and of the←148 | 149→ march of Trento.33 Even if Hugh’s attempt to seize the imperial crown by marrying his half-brother’s influential widow, the senatrix Marozia, failed, his familial power base in the Regnum Italiae was evidently much stronger than that of Rudolph II, who had wed only his sister Waldrada to Boniface of Spoleto.34 Moreover, according to Liutprand and Flodoard,35 Rudolph II was engaged in a brief liaison with Ermengard, the influential widow of Adalbert of Ivrea.36 But Ermengard intrigued and plotted a conspiracy against Rudolph that involved numerous magnates and forced Rudolph to retire to Burgundy.37

Lacking landed property as well as relatives in the peninsula, Rudolph was consequently less in the position to establish ties of loyalty and to gather supporters in the Regnum Italiae.38 It may be symptomatic that he←149 | 150→ had to ask the duke of Swabia (his father-in-law) for assistance when he faced difficulties in the Regnum Italiae, and that Rudolph decided, after the death of his father-in-law who had been killed by Rudolph’s opponents near Novara, to abandon the Regnum Italiae and to return to Burgundy once and for all.39

Relationship with the Papacy

Given that after 875 an imperial coronation could hardly take place without the backing of the pope,40 it is necessary to consider the relationship with the Papacy, too.41 Boso and Guy had even been ‘adopted’ by the pope.42 Louis the Blind and Hugh of Arles had also established good relations with the popes. Furthermore, the archbishop of Vienne had called on the pope and appealed for his consent when Louis’ mother sought to establish her son as king of Provence. When Hugh arrived in the Regnum Italiae in June 926, he was welcomed by a papal legate.43 By contrast, the pope was not mentioned at all when the Holy Lance was handed over to Rudolph II, when he was←150 | 151→ solicited by the Italic magnates44 to become king of the Regnum Italiae, and when he arrived in his new regnum where he received the crown at Pavia.45 Another indication that Rudolph did not aim to cultivate his bonds to the pope might lie in the fact that we do not have even a single papal document referring to Rudolph’s reign as means of dating.46

The list of differences between Louis and Hugh on the one side and Rudolph II on the other might be extended, for example by considering the diverging attitudes vis-à-vis Byzantium. Rudolph II did not pay any attention to Byzantium, whereas Louis seems to have married Anna, a Byzantine princess,47 and Guy and Hugh sought to establish ties with the Byzantine Empire, too.48 These ties might be regarded as useful and advantageous if one planned to be recognised as emperor. But Rudolph II did not pursue this objective. Perhaps he sensed that his prospects of wearing the imperial crown were rather slim given the lack of Carolingian ancestry, appropriate family bonds and vast possessions in the Regnum Italiae, as well as the absence of an adequate relation to the papacy. Possibly, this constellation moreover explains the reason why Rudolph did not comply with the magnates’ request when they called on him some years later, in the 930s, and when they encouraged him to reclaim the Regnum Italiae←151 | 152→ and to substitute Hugh of Arles. Rudolph preferred to come to an arrangement with Hugh, and this agreement ultimately paved the way for the expansion of Burgundy in the Southern regions49 during the reign of Rudolph II’s son, Conrad. By contrast, both Louis the Blind and Hugh of Arles attempted to recover their lost power and they returned to the Regnum Italiae when the magnates approached them a second time.50 Hugh was even so eager to stabilise his reign that he was willing to renounce a part of his former power base, Provence, in favour of Rudolph II. Seeing that Rudolph II was barely attracted by the imperial crown, it is probable that another aspect exercised a significant impact, too: the conception of kingship that appears to have differed in Burgundy from the one we find in Provence.

The conception of kingship in Provence and Burgundy

Even if Rudolph I was influenced by Charles the Fat whom he had served during his life,51 the Burgundian kings were not sufficiently interested in linking up with the Carolingian tradition to adopt the Carolingian naming.←152 | 153→ While Louis the Blind named his son “Carolus” (Charles-Constantine)52 in order to emphasise the Roman and Greek imperial parentage, the Rudolfingian kings avoided ‘imperial names’ like “Charles” or “Judith”. Most likely, the Burgundian kings saw neither the need to produce historiographical documents nor to diffuse a certain image of Burgundian kingship, and they had no desire to demonstrate pomp or magnificence, as François Demotz recently emphasised in his quite accurate description of Burgundy as “une monarchie modérée”.53 We do not know, for instance, of any spectacular secular buildings constructed by the kings. The palatium was small, and the Burgundian chancellery was rather simple. Being held initially by the archbishop of Besançon, it was later entrusted to a simple notary.54 By contrast, in Provence during the reign of Louis the Blind, the archbishops of Vienne became archchancellors: Bernoinus (886/892–899), Raginfred (899–907) and Alexander (907–926).55

Demotz has emphasised that if moderation prevailed in Burgundy, this was not because there were no or insufficient resources.56 In all likelihood, it was a matter of a different self-conception which was based on moderation and thus rather incompatible with emperorship. The situation differed in Provence, where antiquity57 and the ancient imperial traditions were still fairly perceptible and where the kingdom had already been established some decades before, in favour of Lothair I’s son, Charles of Provence. The hierarchic structure was not the same in Upper Burgundy that only became a kingdom in 888. Possibly, the Burgundian magnates would not have accepted a ruler who was considering establishing a pompous kingdom.←153 | 154→

This might also be the reason why Rudolph II refrained from imitating the emperor’s seals. We do not know what the seals looked like which Rudolph II applied in Burgundy, but the seal we find in a charter issued during his reign in the Regnum Italiae differs completely from those his predecessors and the rulers in the West Frankish and Est Frankish kingdom or in Provence employed.58 Rudolph II’s seal,59 however, is the first one that does not present the king in an ‘imperial style’, by a man wearing a paludamentum and a laurel wreath or a diadem, but rather by a man with long hair wearing a corazza and a jewelled crown with three lilies.60 The circumscription + RODULFUS GR(ATI)A DEI PIUS REX followed the West Frankish tradition by adopting the gratia dei. By contrast, pius rex was a new element which until that moment had only been in use in charters. There is a further element of potential significance for the varying conception of kingship: while Louis appears as gloriosissimus rex in his Italian charters,61 Rudolph II is often qualified as piissimus.62←154 | 155→ It may well be symptomatic for the diverse value contributed to the Regnum Italiae (and to the emperorship in general) that Louis never alluded to his kingship in Provence during the period he spent in the Regnum Italiae,63 while Rudolph II’s charters mention his Burgundian kingship. In his first charter issued in the Regnum Italiae his kingship in Burgundy is even listed in the first place;64 in the subsequent charters his kingship in Italy is specified first, while the kingship of Burgundy has shifted to the second position;65 only in charters he issued in 924 in Berengar’s stronghold, Verona, and in the last charters issued after Berengar’s death, the kingdom of Burgundy is omitted completely.66

This difference in the conception of royalty did not go unnoticed. It was Thietmar of Merseburg who later wrote the famous lines about Rudolph’s homonymous grandson: “From what I have heard there is no other ruler like him. He possesses only a title and a crown and grants bishoprics to whomever the leading men propose”.67 The crown and a title, a royal title – maintaining them by establishing stability and a kind of “monarchie←155 | 156→ modérée” was crucial for Rudolph II and his successors. Other ‘sacrifices’, such as renouncing the emperorship or the Regnum Italiae, might be made. In fact – not to be emperor and remaining king in Burgundy, that was the Rudolfingian way of thinking.←156 | 157→

* I would like to thank Christoph Haar for the corrections of my English text.

1 Mazel, Florian: La noblesse et l’Église en Provence, fin Xedébut XIVe siècle. L’exemple des familles d’Agoult-Simiane, de Baux et de Marseille. (CTHS. Histoire 4). Éd. du Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques: Paris 2002; Demotz, François: La Bourgogne, dernier des royaumes carolingiens (855–1056). Roi, pouvoirs et élites autour du Léman. (Mémoires et documents publiés par la société d’histoire de la Suisse romande 4 sér/IX). Société d’histoire de la Suisse romande: Lausanne 2008; Id.: L’an 888. Le royaume de Bourgogne – une puissance européenne au bord du Léman. (Collection le savoir suisse 83). Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes: Lausanne 2012; Carrier, Nicolas: Les Usages de la servitude. Seigneurs et paysans dans le royaume de Bourgogne (VIeXVe siècle). (Cultures et civilisations médiévales 59). Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne: Paris 2012; Nimmegeers, Nathanaël: Évêques entre Bourgogne et Provence (VeXIe siècle). La province ecclésiastique de Vienne au haut Moyen Âge. Presses Universitaires de Rennes: Rennes 2014.

2 Paravy, Pierrette (ed.): Des burgondes au royaume de Bourgogne (Ve–Xe siècle). Espaces politique et civilisation (Journées d’études des 26 et 27 octobre 2001 aux Archives Départementales de l’Isère, Grenoble). Académie delphinale: Grenoble 2002.

3 Guilleré, Christian et al. (eds.): Le royaume de Bourgogne autour de l’an Mil (Actes du séminaire, Centre Interuniversitaire d’Histoire et d’Archéologie Médiévales, Lyon, 15–16 mai 2003). (Langages, littératures, sociétés. Collection sociétés, religions, politiques 8). Université de Savoie: Chambéry 22008.

4 Gaillard, Michèle et al. (eds.): De la mer du Nord à la méditerranée. Francia media, une région au cœur de l’Europe (c. 840–c. 1050) (Actes du colloque de Metz, Luxembourg, Trêves, 8–11 février 2006). (Publications du CLUDEM 25). CLUDEM: Luxembourg 2011.

5 Brocard, Nicole et al. (eds.): Autour de Saint Maurice (Actes du colloque. Politique, société et construction identitaire, 29 septembre–2 octobre 2009, Besançon / Saint Maurice). Fondation des Archives Historiques de l’Abbaye de Saint-Maurice: Saint-Maurice 2012; Andenmatten, Bernard / Ripart, Laurent (eds.): L’abbaye de Saint-Maurice d’Agaune 515–2015. Histoire et archéologie, 2 vols. Infolio: Gollion 2015.

6 Nowak, Jessika (ed.): Deutsch-französisches Forschungsatelier ‘Junge Mediävistik’ I. Das Königreich Burgund (888–1032). Rombach: Freiburg i. Br. 2017.

7 Vannotti, Françoise (ed.): Honneur à Saint Maurice! 1500 ans de culte. Lieux et supports de la liturgie (Actes du colloque, Paris, 2–4 avril 2014) (in print).

8 Brocard, Nicole / Wagner, Anne (eds.): Les royaumes de Bourgogne jusqu’en 1032. L’image du Royaume de Bourgogne à travers sa culture et sa religion (Actes du colloque, Besançon, 2–4 octobre 2014) (in print).

9 Edoardo Manarini is working especially on the Hucpoldings, see e.g. his PhD-thesis Gli Hucpoldingi. Poteri, relazioni, consapevolezza di un gruppo parentale ai vertici del regno italico (secc. IX–XII). Università degli studi di Torino 2014; Id.: “Gli Hucpoldingi. Una parentela marchionale ai vertici del regno italico”. In: Studiare il Medioevo oggi (III Seminario di giovani studiose e studiosi della SISMED, Bologna 17 aprile 2015), retrieved 10 December 2015, from– See also Bougard, François: “Lo stato e le élites fra 888 e 962: il regno d’Italia a confronto (brevi considerazioni)”. In: Valenti, Marco / Wickham, Chris (eds.): Italy, 888–962. A Turning Point (IV Seminario Internazionale Cassero di Poggio Imperiale a Poggibonsi (SI), 4–6 dicembre 2009). (Seminari internazionali del Centro Interuniversitario per la Storia e l’Archeologia dell’Alto Medioevo 4). Brepols: Turnhout 2014, pp. 77–84.

10 See e.g. Grütter, Max: “Rudolf II. von Hochburgund. Versuch zu einer Deutung seiner Politik aus den mittelalterlichen Zeitanschauungen”. Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Geschichte 9, 1929, pp. 169–187; Trog, Hans: Rudolf I. und Rudolf II. von Hochburgund. Detloff: Basel 1887; Poupardin, René: Le Royaume de Bourgogne (888–1038). Études sur les origines du royaume d’Arles. (Bibliothèque de l’École des Hautes Études, 4. Section Sciences Historiques et Philologiques 163). Champion: Paris 1907 [Slatkine Reprints: Genève 1974], chap. II: Le règne de Rodolfe II (912–937), pp. 29–65, esp. pp. 34–48.

11 On Louis, see Poupardin, René: Le Royaume de Provence sous les carolingiens (855–933?). (Bibliothèque de l’École des Hautes Études 131). Bouillon: Paris 1901 [Slatkine: Genève 1974], esp. chap. V: Les expéditions de Louis de Provence en Italie (900–905), pp. 164–189, chap. VI: Les dernières années de Louis l’Aveugle. Hugues d’Arles et Charles-Constantin (905–933), pp. 190–242; Zielinski, Herbert: “Ludwig der Blinde”. In: Neue Deutsche Biographie 15, 1987, pp. 331–334, retrieved 23 May 2015, from; Prévité-Orton, Charles William: “Italy and Provence. 900–950”. English Historical Review 32, 1917, pp. 335–347; Bautier, Robert-Henri: “Aux origines du royaume de Provence. De la sédition avortée de Boson à la royauté légitime de Louis”. Provence historique 23, 1973, pp. 41–68 [again in: Id.: Recherches sur l’histoire de la France médiévale. Des Mérovingiens aux premiers Capétiens. (Variorum Collected Studies Series 351). Ashgate Publishing Group: Aldershot/Hampshire 1991, pp. 41–68. On Louis’ imperial plans, see Schulze, Albert: Kaiserpolitik und Einheitsgedanke in den karolingischen Nachfolgestaaten (876–962) unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Urkundenmaterials. Der Reichsbote: Berlin 1926, p. 61.

12 On Hugh of Arles, see e.g. Gingins-la-Sarraz, Frédéric Charles Jean: “Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire des royaumes de Provence et de Bourgogne jurane. II. Les Hugonides”. Archiv für Schweizerische Geschichte 9, 1853, pp. 85–260; Bellani, Sara: “Politiche familiari e rapporti di fedeltà nel secolo X. Un approccio prosopografico ai regni di Ugo di Provenza e di Berengario II”. Ricerche storiche. Rivista semestrale del Centro Piombinese di Studi Storici 27, 1997, pp. 127–148; Vignodelli, Giacomo: “King, Bishops and Canons. Political and Patrimonial Action of King Hugh of Arles, 926–945” (paper presented at the IMC at Leeds, July 2015; retrieved 23 November 2015, from

13 Koziol, Geoffrey: The Politics of Memory and Identity in Carolingian Royal Diplomas. The West Frankish Kingdom (840–987). Brepols: Turnhout 2012, p. 249.

14 J. F. Böhmer. Regesta Imperii, I,3. Das Regnum Italiae und die burgundischen Regna. 840–926 (962). Das Regnum Italiae in der Zeit der Thronkämpfe und Reichsteilungen 888 (850)–926, ed. by Herbert Zielinski. Böhlau: Cologne et al. 1998; J. F. Böhmer. Regesta Imperii, I,3. Das Regnum Italiae und die burgundischen Regna. 840–926 (962). Das Regnum Italiae vom Regierungsantritt Hugos von Vienne bis zur Kaiserkrönung Ottos des Großen 926–962, ed. by Herbert Zielinski. Böhlau: Vienna et al. 2006.

15 J. F. Böhmer, Regesta Imperii, I,3. Das Regnum Italiae und die burgundischen Regna. Die burgundischen Regna 855–1032. Niederburgund bis zur Vereinigung mit Hochburgund (855–940er Jahre), ed. by Herbert Zielinski. Böhlau: Vienna et al. 2013.

16 Schieffer, Theodor (ed.): Die Urkunden der burgundischen Rudolfinger. Regum Burgundiae e stirpe Rudolfina diplomata et acta. (MGH DD Burg.). Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Munich 1977 [1983].

17 Schiaparelli, Luigi (ed.): I diplomi di Berengario I. (Fonti per la storia d’Italia 35). Tipografi del Senato / Forzani: Rome 1903 [Bottega d’Erasmo: Turin 1960 / Istituto storico italiano per il Medio Evo: Rome 1966]; Id. (ed.): I diplomi di Guido e di Lamberto. (Fonti per la storia d’Italia 36). Tipografi del Senato / Forzani: Rome 1906 [Bottega d’Erasmo: Turin 1960 / Istituto storico italiano per il Medio Evo: Rome 1970]; Id. (ed.): I diplomi italiani di Lodovico III e di Rodolfo II. (Fonti per la storia d’Italia 37). Istituto storico italiano per il Medio Evo: Rome 1908 [Tipografi del Senato / Forzani: Rome 1910 / Bottega d’Erasmo: Turin 1960 / Istituto storico italiano per il Medio Evo: Rome 1970]; Id.: “I diplomi dei re d’Italia. Ricerche storico-diplomatiche 3: I diplomi di Lodovico III”. Bullettino dell’Istituto storico italiano 29, 1908, pp. 105–207; Id. (ed.): I diplomi di Ugo e di Lotario, di Berengario II e di Adalberto. (Fonti per la storia d’Italia 38). Tipografi del Senato: Rome 1924 [Bottega d’Erasmo: Turin 1966].

18 Poupardin, René: Recueil des actes des rois des Provence (855–928). (Chartes et diplômes relatifs à l’histoire de France 5). Imprimerie nationale: Paris 1920. – Furthermore there are, of course, the narrative sources, e.g. Liutprand, Flodoard and Constantine Porphyrogenitus.

19 For more information see the literature listed in annotation 11. – Of course Louis maintained the claim of being emperor. After his defeat one still finds in his own charters the Signum Ludovici serenissimi augusti and phrases like more imperiali propriis manibus subter eum firmavimus (Poupardin, Receuil 1920, n. 50, pp. 93: May 16, 908). – But as Constance Brittain Bouchard emphasizes “no one outside of lower Burgundy seems to have paid him the slightest bit of attention” (Bouchard, Constance Brittain: “Burgundy and Provence, 879–1032”. In: Reuter, Timothy [ed.]: The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. III: c. 900c. 1024. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge 1999, pp. 328–345, esp. p. 334).

20 See e.g. Grütter, “Rudolf II. von Hochburgund” 1929, pp. 169–187. – Only Rudolf Hiestand (Hiestand, Rudolf: Byzanz und das Regnum Italicum im 10. Jahrhundert. Ein Beitrag zur ideologischen und machtpolitischen Auseinandersetzung zwischen Osten und Westen. [Geist und Werk der Zeiten 9]. Fretz & Wasmuth: Zurich 1964, p. 142) thinks to spot some signs Rudolph did, but his argumentation is not convincing. The formula “absque imperiali et nostrorum iudicum palatinorum iudicio” in a charter dated November 9, 924 (Schiaparelli, Diplomi Italiani di Lodovico III e di Rodolfo [Forzani: Rome 1910], [D R II] VII, p. 115) may only be the result of the employment of Berengar’s chancellor who used this phrasing. Furthermore, it is highly questionable that Rudolph’s primary goal by investing Boniface, his brother-in-law, as margrave of Tuscany was to pave the way to the Tiber and to Rome.

21 His temporibus, Italienses in Burgundiam ob Rodulfum, ut adveniat, mittunt. Quod Hugo rex ut agnovit, nuntiis ad eundem directis omnem terram, quam in Gallia ante regni susceptionem tenuit, Rodulfo dedit, atque ab eo iusiurandum ne aliquando in Italiam veniret accepit (Liutprand: “Antapodosis”, III, c. 48, p. 93. In: Liutprandi Cremonensis Opera Omnia, ed. by Paolo Chiesa. [Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis 156]. Brepols: Turnhout 1998).

22 For more information see the literature listed in annotation 12.

23 On the history of the Regnum Italiae in those days, see e.g. Sergi, Giuseppe: “The kingdom of Italy”. In: Reuter, Timothy (ed.): The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. III: 900–1024. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge 1999, pp. 346–371, esp. pp. 346–351; cf. also Hlawitschka, Eduard: Franken, Alemannen und Burgunder in Oberitalien (774–962). Zum Verständnis der fränkischen Königsherrschaft in Italien. Alber: Freiburg i. Br. 1969, esp. pp. 67–94.

24 […] obviam quem imperator ad Hrenum villa Chirihheim veniens honorifice ad hominem sibi quasi adoptivum filium eum iniunxit. In: Annales Fuldenses sive Annales regni Francorum orientalis, ed. by Friedrich Kurze. (MGH SS rer. Germ. 7). Hahn: Hannover 1891 [1978/1993], ad a. 887, p. 115; Hlawitschka, Eduard: “Adoptionen im mittelalterlichen Königshaus”. In: Schulz, Knut (ed.): Beiträge zur Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte des Mittelalters. Festschrift für Herbert Helbig zum 65. Geburtstag. Böhlau: Cologne et al. 1976, pp. 1–32; Ewig, Eugen: “Kaiser Lothars Urenkel, Ludwig von Vienne, der präsumtive Nachfolger Kaiser Karls III.”. In: Elbern, Victor H. (ed.): Das erste Jahrtausend. Kultur und Kunst im werdenden Abendland an Rhein und Ruhr. Verlag L. Schwann: Düsseldorf 1962 [²1963], vol. I, pp. 336–343.

25 […] antecessorum nostrorum dona tam regum quam et imperatorum […] (Schiaparelli, Diplomi Italiani di Lodovico III e di Rodolfo [Forzani: Rome 1910], [D L III] II, p. 6); […] a Karolo imperatore avunculo scilicet nostro […] (ibid., [D L III] IV, p. 12).

26 On Hugh’s charters, see Bougard, François: “Charles le Chauve, Bérenger, Hugues de Provence. Action politique et production documentaire dans les diplômes à destination de l’Italie”. In: Dartmann, Christoph et al. (eds.): Zwischen Pragmatik und Performanz. Dimensionen mittelalterlicher Schriftkultur. (Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy 18). Brepols: Turnhout 2011, pp. 57–84.

27 Si antecessorum nostrorum regum videlicet sive imperatorum ecclesiastice concessa privilegia etiam nostrae largitatis auctoritate roboramus (Schiaparelli, Diplomi Italiani di Lodovico III e di Rodolfo [Forzani: Rome 1910] [D R II] IX, p. 121; cf. ibid., I, p. 96; IV, p. 104; VII, p. 116; VIII, p. 119; X, p. 124.

28 Boso was the grandfather of Rudolph II. But the mother of Rudolph II, Willa of Provence, was not the daughter of Ermengard of Italy. When Boso’s marriage with Ermengard took place in 878 Willa had already seen the light of day. – Only Rudolph’s sister had been, according to Hlawitschka, married to Louis the Blind (Hlawitschka, Eduard: “Die verwandtschaftlichen Verbindungen zwischen dem hochburgundischen und dem niederburgundischen Königshaus”. In: Schlögl, Waldemar [ed.]: Grundwissenschaften und Geschichte. Festschrift für Peter Acht. [Münchener historische Studien. Abteilung Geschichtliche Hilfswissenschaften 15]. Lassleben: Kallmünz 1976, pp. 28–57).

29 On Berengar, see e.g. Gabotto, Ferdinando: “Da Berengario I ad Arduino”. Archivio storico italiano ser. 5, vol. 42, 1908, pp. 306–325; Pivano, Silvio: Stato e Chiesa da Berengario I ad Arduino 888–1015. Bocca: Turin 1908; Pastine, Onorato: Il regno di Berengario I. Papolo e Panozzo: Lonigo 1912; Hirsch, Paul: Die Erhebung Berengars zum König von Italien. Geschichte des italienischen Königreiches unter Kaiser Berengar I. Schmidt Universitäts-Buchhandlung: Strasbourg 1910; Arnaldi, Girolamo: “Berengario I, duca-marchese del Friuli, re d’Italia, imperatore”. In: Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani 9, 1967, pp. 1–26; Sielaff, Frithjof: “Der ostfränkische Hof, Berengar von Friaul und Ludwig von Niederburgund”. In: Scheil, Ursula (ed.): Festschrift Adolf Hofmeister zum 70. Geburtstag. Niemeyer: Halle 1955, vol. I, pp. 275–282; Rosenwein, Barbara H.: “The Family Politics of Berengar I, King of Italy (888–924)”. Speculum 71, 1996, pp. 247–289; Ead.: “Friends and Family, Politics and Privilege in the Kingship of Berengar I”. In: Cohn, Samuel Kline / Epstein, Steven A. (eds.): Portraits of Medieval and Renaissance Living. Essays in Memory of David Herlihy. The University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, Mich. 1996, pp. 91–106; Viehmann, Karina (†): Urkundenpraxis als Bild der politischen Ordnung. Berengar I. im nachkarolingischen Regnum Italiae (888–924) (PhD-Thesis, Leipzig [2015], unpublished). – On the rule attributed to the ascendance, see esp. Isabella, Giovanni: “Between regnum and imperium: the Political Action and Kingship of Berengar I, 888–924, in the Gesta Berengarii”. (Paper held at the IMC in Leeds, 2014; retrieved 16 December 2015, from – On his charters, see Schiaparelli, I diplomi di Berengario I 1903; Id.: “I diplomi dei re d’Italia. Ricerche storico-diplomatiche 1: I diplomi di Berengario I”. Bullettino dell’Istituto storico italiano 23, 1902, pp. 1–167.

30 On Guy of Spoleto, see e.g. Hlawitschka, Eduard: “Die Widonen in Dukat von Spoleto”. Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken 63, 1983, pp. 44–90; Id.: “Kaiser Wido und das Westfrankenreich”. In: Althoff, Gerd et al. (eds.): Person und Gemeinschaft im Mittelalter. Karl Schmid zum 65. Geburtstag. Thorbecke: Sigmaringen 1988, pp. 187–198; Hiestand, Byzanz 1964, pp. 27–28, 45–82.

31 Guy of Spoleto’s and Berengar’s family were also deeply enrooted in the Regnum Italiae. The large possessions Berengar could dispose of allowed him to retreat to his stronghold, to his land near Verona, without renouncing his claim to power when his antagonist Rudolph II became king of the Regnum Italiae. Even after Berengar had been defeated at Fiorenzuola, near Piacenza, he seems to have kept a part of the Regnum before being murdered by one of his own men in April 924 (RI 1377, 1378, 1379). At least Constantine Porphyrogenitus – admittedly a quite dubious source – reports that Rudolph II and Berengar divided the Regnum Italiae after this combat (Constantine Porphyrogenitus: De administrando imperio, ed. by Gyula Moravcsik. English translation by Romilly James Heald Jenkins. [Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 1]. Dumbarton Oaks: Washington ²1967, c. 26, p. 111). Rudolf Hiestand, who considers the narration as reliable, believes that the delimitation of the spheres of influence was only accomplishable because it took place between a king and an emperor (Hiestand, Byzanz 1964, p. 141). Mor (Mor, Carlo Guido: L’età feudale. Vallardi: Milan 1952, vol. I, p. 78) doubts that Constantine’s report is correct, but Schiaparelli (Schiaparelli, Luigi: “I diploma dei re d’Italia. Ricerche storico-diplomatiche. Parte IV. I. Un diploma inedito di Rodolfo II per la Chiesa di Pavia. II. Alcune note sui diplomi originali di Rodolfo II”. Bullettino dell’Istituto storico italiano 30, 1909, pp. 7–39, esp. p. 12), Poupardin (Bourgogne 1907/1974, pp. 45–48) and Fasoli (Fasoli, Gina: I re d’Italia [888–962]. Sansoni: Firenze 1949, p. 93) believe in the credibility of the division, considering the fact that partitioning of the kingdom in two spheres of influence had already taken place between Berengar and Guy, between Lambert and Berengar and between Louis and Berengar.

32 On Bertha, see e.g. Lazzari, Tiziana: “La rappresentazione dei legami di parentela e il ruolo delle donne nell’alta aristocrazia del regno Italico (secc. IX–X): l’esempio di Berta di Toscana”. In: La Rocca, Cristina (ed.): Agire da donna. Modelli e pratiche di rappresentazione nell’alto medioevo europeo (secoli VI–X). (Atti del convegno, Padova, 18–19 febbrario 2005). Brepols: Turnhout 2006, pp. 163–189.

33 For more information, see Wickham, Chris: Early Medieval Italy. Central Power and Local Society 400–1000. Macmillan: London, Basingstoke 1981 [University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, Mich. 1989], p. 77.

34 On this bond, see Edoardo Manarini’s contribution at the IMC in Leeds 2015, entitled “A Marriage, a Battle, an Honour: The Aristocratic Career of Boniface of the Hucpoldings during Rudolf II’s Italian Reign (924–926)”, retrieved: 15 December 2015, from

35 Les annales de Flodoard, ed. by Philippe Lauer. (Collection des textes 39). Picard: Paris 1906, ad a. 926, p. 35; Liutprand, Antapodosis III, c. 8–13, p. 71–73. – Of course Liutprand’s description is far from being objective, especially if women are concerned.

36 Ermengard is mentioned in some of Rudolph II’s charters, see e.g. Schiaparelli, Diplomi Italiani di Lodovico III e di Rodolfo [Forzani: Rome 1910], [D R II] VI, p. 112; X, p. 124.

37 His presence in Burgundy is documented in January 926. Schieffer, Regum Burgundiae 1977/1983, 22, pp. 123–125.

38 The same applies likewise to Louis the Blind. His grandparents had played an important part in the Regnum Italiae. His homonymous grandfather had been emperor until his death, which occurred in 875, his grandmother Angilberga was probably the daughter of Adelchis of Parma and originated hence from the Supponids, one of the most powerful families in the Regnum Italiae. She had exerted a huge influence over her husband and she had been abbess of San Salvatore in Brescia and of San Sisto in Piacenza. She even had assisted her daughter and her grandchild extensively when they attempted to win Louis’ recognition as king of Provence. But Angilberga had died in 901 and therefore could not come to the aid of her grandson when Louis’ position in the Regnum Italiae got contested. – On Angilberga, see the studies of Roberta Cimino, e.g. Cimino, Roberta: “Beni fiscali e potere delle donne nel Regno Italico: l’imperatrice Angelberga”. Società Donne & Storia 5, 2010, pp. 76–159.

39 See e.g. Liutprand, Antapodosis III, c. 13, 15, 16, pp. 73–75; Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio, c. 26, p. 112.

40 On the increasing role of the papacy, see e.g. Ullmann, Walter: The Growth of Papal Government in the Middle Ages. A Study in the Ideological Relation of Clerical to Lay Power. Methuen: London 1955, esp. pp. 161–162; Groth, Simon: “Kaisertum, Papsttum und italisches Königtum. Zur Entstehung eines schwierigen Dreiecksverhältnisses”. Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 94, 2012, pp. 21–58; Id.: “Papsttum, italisches Königtum und Kaisertum. Zur Entwicklung eines Dreiecksverhältnisses von Ludwig II. bis Berengar I.”. Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 124, 2013, pp. 151–184, as well as Groth’s paper in this volume.

41 According to Regino of Prüm, Charles the Bald was even reputed to have bought the nomen imperatoris from John X (MacLean, Simon [ed. and tr.]: History and Politics in Late Carolingian and Ottonian Europe. The Chronicle of Regino of Prüm and Adalbert of Magdeburg. Manchester Univ. Press: Manchester et al. 2009, ad a. 877, p. 177).

42 Eichmann, Eduard: “Die Adoption des deutschen Königs durch den Papst”. Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: Germanistische Abteilung 37, 1916, pp. 291–312, esp. pp. 302–305.

43 Liutprand, Antapodosis, III, c. 17, p. 75.

44 Among these magnates Adalbert of Ivrea played a major role. On Adalbert (ca. 890–935), see Fasoli, Gina: “Adalberto d’Ivrea”. In: Dizionario biografico degli Italiani I. Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana: Rome 1960, pp. 217–218; Keller, Hagen: “Zur Struktur der Königsherrschaft im karolingischen und nachkarolingischen Italien. Der ‘consiliarius regis’ in den italienischen Königsdiplomen des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts”. Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken 22, 1967, pp. 123–223, esp. p. 206; Rosenwein, “The Family Politics of Berengar I 1996”, p. 274. – Other famous supporters backing Rudolph were Giselbert, count of Bergamo, and Lambert, archbishop of Milan.

45 Liutprand, Antapodosis, III, c. 17, p. 75.

46 According to Leo Marsicanus, Pope Leo X even played an important part in the revolt of Italic magnates against Rudolph II: Interea Iohannes papa undecimus iunctus magnatibus Italie depulit ex ea Rodulfum et mittens invitavit Hugonem Aquitanie ducem, qui tunc et prudentia maxima et virtute multa pollebat. (Die Chronik von Montecassino [Chronica Monasterii Casinensis], ed. by Hartmut Hoffmann [MGH SS 34]. Hahn: Hannover 1980, I, 61, p. 153).

47 Bouchard, Constance Brittain, “Burgundy and Provence” 1999, p. 334.

48 Hugh married his (illegitimate) daughter to a Byzantine prince (Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio, c. 26, p. 112).

49 Pokorny, Rudolf: “Eine bischöfliche Promissio aus Belley und die Datierung des Vereinigungsvertrages von Hoch- und Niederburgund (933?)”. Deutsches Archiv 43, 1987, pp. 46–61.

50 It is uncertain whether Hugh had been in the Regnum Italiae in 912, in 917/918, in 920 or in 923/924 or several times. See e.g. Fasoli, I re d’Italia 1949, pp. 233–235; Prévité-Orton, “Italy and Provence” 1917, p. 339; Manteyer, Georges de: La Provence du premier au douzième siècle 1. Études d’histoire et de géographie politique. (Mémoires et documents publiés par la société de l’École des Chartes 8). Picard: Paris 1908 [RP Laffitte: Marseille 1975 / Bibliolife: Charleston 2009], pp. 119–120; Mor, L’età feudale I 1952, pp. 74–75; Poupardin, Provence 1901/1974, p. 219; Id., Bourgogne 1907/1974, p. 47–48; Hiestand, Byzanz 1964, p. 147–148 n. 16). Apparently, the first time he was defeated by Berengar he had to promise not to come back as long as Berengar was alive (Poupardin, Bourgogne 1907/1974, p. 48).

51 See Sergi, Giuseppe: “Genesi di un regno effimero. La Borgogna di Rodolfo I”. Bolletino storico-bibliografico subalpino 87, 1989, pp. 5–44; Id.: “Istituzioni politiche e società nel regno di Borgogna”. In: Il secolo di ferro. Mito et realtà del secolo X. (Settimane di studio del centro italiano di studi sull’alto medioevo 38). Centro italiano di studi sull’alto medioevo: Spoleto 1991, pp. 205–240.

52 Prévité-Orton, Charles William: “Charles Constantine of Vienne”. English Historical Review 29, 1914, pp. 703–706.

53 Demotz, François: “Eine Herrschaft zwischen Tradition und europäischer ‘Drehscheibe’. Diversität der Modelle und der Eliten”. In: Nowak, Jessika (ed.): Deutsch-französisches Forschungsatelier Junge Mediävistik I. Das Königreich Burgund (888–1032). Rombach: Freiburg i. Br. 2017.

54 Ibid.

55 Nimmegeers, Nathanaël: “Eine geistliche Entität zwischen der Provence und Burgund. Die Kirchenprovinz Vienne von 888 bis 1032”. In: Nowak, Jessika (ed.): Deutsch-französisches ForschungsatelierJunge Mediävistik’ I. Das Königreich Burgund (888–1032). Rombach: Freiburg i. Br. 2017.

56 Demotz, “Herrschaft” 2017.

57 Nimmegeers, “Eine geistliche Entität” 2017.

58 Rudolph I’s seal was inspired by one of Charles the Fat’s seals. Remarkably it is not Charles’ seal with the lance and the buckler that served as a model in East Francia, but the one without the buckler and without the lance. – The seal Louis the Blind made use of after having become emperor is showing the legend + XPE SALVA HLVDOVICVM AVG(us)T(u)M and reminds the oval seals of Charlemagne, Louis the Pious, Lothair I, Lothair II and of the kings of the Francia occidentalis which had a circumferential circumscription. On the seals, see Dalas, Martine: Corpus des sceaux français du Moyen Âge, vol. 2: Les sceaux des rois et de régence. Archives Nationales: Paris 1991.

59 For a description, see Schiaparelli, “I diploma dei re d’Italiae. Parte IV. I” 1909, esp. p. 37.

60 For a figure, see Stückelberg, Ernst Alfred: Denkmäler des Königreichs Hochburgund vornehmlich in der Westschweiz (888–1032). (Mitteilungen der Antiquarischen Gesellschaft in Zürich 30,1 [Neujahrsblatt 89]). Leemann: Zurich 1925.

61 See e.g. Schiaparelli, Diplomi Italiani di Lodovico III e di Rodolfo [Forzani: Rome 1910], [DD L III] I, p. 5; II, p. 8; III, p. 101; IV, p. 15; V, p. 18. – On his charters, see Zielinski, Herbert: “Zum Urkundenwesen Kaiser Ludwigs III. des Blinden”. In: Cherubini, Paolo / Nicolaj, Giovanna (eds.): Sit liber gratus, quem servulus est operatus. Studi in onore di Alessandro Pratesi per il suo 90 compleanno. (Littera antiqua 19). Scuola Vaticana Paleografia: Vatican City 2012, pp. 169–182.

62 See e.g. Signum: Schiaparelli, Diplomi Italiani di Lodovico III e di Rodolfo [Forzani: Rome 1910], [DD R II] I, p. 97 (Pavia, 922, February 4); VIII, p. 120 (Verona, 924 November 12); XI, p. 127 (924); [datatio]: ibid.‚ II, p. 100 (Pavia, 922 December 3); III, p. 103 (Pavia, 922 December 8); VI, p. 113 (Pavia, 924 October 8); VIII, p. 120 (Verona, 924 November 12); IX, p. 122 (Verona, 924 November 12); XI, p. 127 (924).

63 See e.g. Schiaparelli, Diplomi Italiani di Lodovico III e di Rodolfo [Forzani: Rome 1910], [DD L III] II–V, pp. 5–18.

64 Ibid. [DD R II] I, p. 97 (Pavia, 922 February 4); V, p. 111 (Pratis de Grannis, 924 September 27). – See Zimmermann, Harald: “Imperatores Italiae”. In: Beumann, Helmut (ed.): Historische Forschungen für Walter Schlesinger. Böhlau: Cologne et al. 1974, pp. 379–399, esp. pp. 395–396.

65 Schiaparelli, Diplomi Italiani di Lodovico III e di Rodolfo [Forzani: Rome 1910], [DD R II] II, p. 100 (Pavia, 922 December 3); III, p. 103 (Pavia, 922 December 8).

66 Schiaparelli, Diplomi Italiani di Lodovico III e di Rodolfo [Forzani: Rome 1910], [DD R II] IV, p. 106 (Pavia, 924 August 18); VII–IX, pp. 116, 120, 122 (Verona, 924 November 12); X, p. 125 (Pavia, 924 December 5); XII, p. 132 (Pavia, 925, February 28).

67 Holtzmann, Robert (ed.): Die Chronik des Bischofs Thietmar von Merseburg und ihre Korveier Überarbeitung (Thietmari Merseburgensis episcopi Chronicon). (MGH SS rer. Germ. N. S. 9). Weidmannsche Buchhandlung: Berlin 1935, lib. VII, p. 434.