Charlemagne's Practice of Empire

Charlemagne's Practice of Empire

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Jennifer R. Davis
Cambridge University Press, 8/20/2015
EAN 9781107076990, ISBN10: 1107076994

Hardcover, 552 pages, 23.6 x 16 x 5.1 cm
Language: English

Revisiting one of the great puzzles of European political history, Jennifer R. Davis examines how the Frankish king Charlemagne and his men held together the vast new empire he created during the first decades of his reign. Davis explores how Charlemagne overcame the two main problems of ruling an empire, namely how to delegate authority and how to manage diversity. Through a meticulous reconstruction based on primary sources, she demonstrates that rather than imposing a pre-existing model of empire onto conquered regions, Charlemagne and his men learned from them, developing a practice of empire that allowed the emperor to rule on a European scale. As a result, Charlemagne's realm was more flexible and diverse than has long been believed. Telling the story of Charlemagne's rule using sources produced during the reign itself, Davis offers a new interpretation of Charlemagne's political practice, free from the distortions of later legend.

Part I. Strategic Rulership
tools of control and coercion
1. Managing royal agents
2. Disciplining royal agents
3. Fractured control
Charlemagne's response to dissent
control and its limits
Part II. Center and Region in Charlemagne's Empire
unity and diversity in Charlemagne's empire
4. An empire of regions?
5. The conquered regions as arenas for experimentation
6. The nature of the empire
centralization and communication
the imperial character of Charlemagne's realm
Part III. An Empire of Practice
continuity, change, and the building of an empire
7. The chronology of the reign
8. Recta via
the dynamics of political change
an empire of practice
Charlemagne's invention of medieval rulership