Marriage, Motherhood and Woman in Carolingian Edifying Literature
PART 1: SOCIO-CULTURAL CONTEXTS 27
27 PART 1 : SOCIO-CULTURAL CONTEXTS I. The Carolingian age as a period of religious and moral reform A. Charlemagne: the indispensable infrastructure It is mainly because they considered the Christian religion an important means of expanding and stabilizing their power that the first Carolingian rulers supported the attempts of the Anglo-Saxons Willibrordus and Bonifatius to do missionary and reform work1• This is proved a.o. by the fact that they themselves behaved as masters of the Church and kept doing it economic harm by secularizations, in spite of their donations and their opposition to the abuses of noble laymen2 • However, from Pepin the Short the power of the Carolingian rulers was legitimised and consacrated by the Roman Church. Kingship consequently became a sacred function, as under the Old-Testament kings, with well defined religious responsibilities and duties, which Pepin duly put into practice. He tried a.o. to restore the possessions of the Church and supported the reform of the Frankish Church3• Under Charlemagne the collaboration between ecclesiastical and worldly authorities was intensified. Charlemagne, who was crowned emperor by the Pope, wanted with the help of the Church to establish a single and stable empire, uniting the Christians of continental Europe4 • In spite of the fact that he still thought that he could freely dispose of the goods and personnel of the Church, he behaved as someone whom God made responsible not only for the conduct and well-being of his subjects on this earth, but also for their salvation after death5 . Charlemagne developed...
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