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Der Limes Saxoniae

Fiktion oder Realität? Beiträge des interdisziplinären Symposiums in Oldenburg/Holstein am 21. Oktober 2017


Edited By Oliver Auge and Jens Boye Volquartz

In seiner um 1075 verfassten «Hamburger Kirchengeschichte» berichtet Adam von Bremen vom «Limes Saxoniae», der durch Karl den Großen und andere Kaiser eingerichtet worden sei. Eine im Jahr 2017 von der Kieler Abteilung für Regionalgeschichte durchgeführte Tagung «Der ‹Limes Saxoniae› – Fiktion oder Realität?» hinterfragte diesen Quellenbericht und damit die Grenzziehung überhaupt ausgehend von interdisziplinären Standpunkten der Archäologie, Sprach- und Geschichtswissenschaft. Der vorliegende Tagungsband bündelt die Beiträge und Diskussionen dieser Konferenz zu Aspekten wie der historischen Nachweisbarkeit der Existenz dieser sächsisch-slawischen Grenze, ihres möglichen Erscheinungsbildes oder den zeitgenössischen Grenzvorstellungen. Auch Fragen nach einer Fälschungsabsicht Adams, dem Slawenbild im Frühmittelalter und der späteren Rezeption des «Limes» finden sich darin wieder.

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Limes, confinia, marca – Zur Wahrnehmung und Bedeutung von Grenzen in der Karolingerzeit


Abstract: Following widespread ideas in the state of research early medieval boundaries were neither stable nor linear, but flexible ‘border seams’ of uninhabited wasteland. They were ‘space’ rather than continuous borderlines. Considering the contemporary utterances of Carolingian authors about pertinent expressions, such as limes, confinia, fines, (con)termini or marca, to inquire into their perceptions and concepts of borders, we get a completely different impression. Even one of the key witnesses for the traditional theory, Einhard on the border between Saxons and Franks which ran across plains and only in some places was clearly discernible (certus limes) by forests or mountains, does neither deny the existence of borders (but presumes them) nor does he write of wasteland, but of (cultivated) arable land (agri). Carolingian chroniclers take clear borders between duchies, counties or bishoprics for granted and sometimes even confirm their old age; people constantly crossed the provincial borders which need not necessarily have been certi limites – otherwise this frequent expression would have been void –, but delimited kingdoms and provinces from each other. Such a perception is confirmed by the frequent mention of border protection, of negotiations about borderlines or of frontier locations. Also the divisions of the Frankish realms refer to clearly delimited dioceses, provinces or counties. Consequently, the fact that the pertinent medieval Latin expressions can refer to borders as well as regions does not mean that borders have to be understood as ‘border seams’; there are no indications of a development from ‘seams’ to ‘lines’ in...

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