Have you seen this emperor?

Edit: two minor errors fixed, indicated with strikethrough

Let me ask you something that may reveal my ignorance. Or, it might reveal someone else’s, we’ll see. A while ago I saw the image below on the one Tumblr blog you’ll find in my sidebar, Medium Aevum. Now this is not an unfamiliar image to me, because it is the one used for the cover of Paul Edward Dutton’s excellent reader Carolingian Civilization in its second edition (and maybe its first, which I only ever saw in a library binding), and it ought not to be unfamiliar anyway, because it comes from the Sacramentary of Charles the Bald, so an actual piece of Carolingian book-painting (which is as you may well know about the only kind of Carolingian painting we really have).1 And that manuscript is now Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, MS Lat. 1241 1141, which means that a certain amount of poking around Mandragore can get you the full thing digitised, because the web is wonderful like that.

Painting of an emperor between two popes, being crowned by God

Now my query here is with the identification given to the figures in this picture in the Medium Aevum post, and indeed elsewhere. (The owner of Medium Aevum has disabled comments there because of abuse, so I hope they won’t mind my using their page as an example. The place I actually borrowed the image from, About.com’s Medieval History pages, makes the same statement though they do there at least notice some of the difficulties I’m about to point out.) There it is said to be Charlemagne, standing between Popes Gelasius I and Gregory the Great. That immediately gave me pause. Firstly I paused because, well, that guy just doesn’t look like a Carolingian: as has been said here before, there seems to have either been a strong resemblance between the males of the line or else a strong idea among artists about what they should look like, and it includes more jowls than that, also moustaches, and quite less late-Antique hair.2 This looks like a young Constantine to me, not that an artist in 870 would have known what that looked like. But then there’s the popes. Why those two? Why not Leo III and Hadrian, the one whom Charlemagne was actually crowned Emperor by and the one he actually got on with?3 Gelasius, as the man who told Emperor Anastasius that his power was ultimately lesser than the pope’s (or at least, his responsibility was), I can kind of see although why a king would want that in his Sacramentary is harder to imagine. Gregory I would make a kind of sense, too, just because of his fame and connection with Saint Benedict, though I think the Carolingian fascination with him was lesser than the Anglo-Saxon one, but it’s still only a kind of sense, and certainly he had no special connection with imperial power (quite the reverse, in fact, if you look at his career, which was pretty much all about how to manage disconnection from Empire).4 Gregory the Great does admittedly turn up on the next page of the manuscript, being inspired by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove in that way that he so often apparently was, and they do look similar, so it’s not impossible, but still a strange thing to put a coronation of Charlemagne. If that’s what it is… Because I see nothing on the page that so identifies it; it’s not even clear if the text in the panel beneath them is actually from this page, because if you seek it out in Mandragore you’ll see that one of the two sources has reversed the image, and I think the text may actually have imprinted from the previous or subsequent page: Mandragore shows it faded and backwards, and very little left of the text on the subsequent page’s equivalent panel.

Ivory carving of Pope Gregory the Great being inspired by the Holy Spirit, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Ivory carving of Pope Gregory the Great being inspired by the Holy Spirit, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

With suspicions thus up, I started with Dutton’s book, whose back cover identifies the portrait only as “The Crowning of a Christian King”. Hmmm, I thought, and betook me armed with the shelfmark usefully given there to Mandragore, as described, and they entitle the picture, “Allégorie : royauté de droit divin”.5 Yes, I thought, that’s more like what I had in mind, so where on earth has this come from? And there I draw a blank. Medium Aevum almost always gives a source, and it’s usually Wikipedia; so it was in this case. The file on Wikipedia is called “Karl 1 mit papst gelasius gregor1 sacramentar v karl d kahlen.jpg”, which is fairly unambiguous, and as so often with Wikipedia too, it gives a source for this, but as is also so often the case, that source is a dead link, a course web-page at the University of (Edit: North) Florida whose course or whose owner has obviously left the building. And there the trail goes cold, although from Wikipedia it has grown widely as you will see if you Google elements of the filename. (There is a further link on the Wikipedia page to the Bridgeman Art and Culture image library, but, well, I do not retrieve this image on any search I can be bothered to follow through with, and certainly not one for Charlemagne.)

Emperor Lothar I, illustration of a Tours Evangeliary now in the BN Paris

Now that's a Carolingian! To wit, Emperor Lothar I, illustration of a Tours Evangeliary now also in the BN Paris and also here taken from Wikipedia

So okay, there’s the question. Has anyone thought that this was a scene of the coronation of Charlemagne before, is this just out there in a book I perhaps should have read? If so, on what basis did that person make the identification of king and popes? And if not, how on earth has this idea got out there?

1. That is, P. E. Dutton (transl.), Carolingian Civilization: a reader (Ontario 1994), 2nd edn. Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures (Ontario 2004); for more on Carolingian-period painting my first resort would be George Henderson, “Emulation and Innovation in Carolingian Art” in Rosamond McKitterick (ed.), Carolingian Culture: emulation and innovation (Cambridge 1994), pp. 248-273.

2. From which statement we learn that apparently after seeing two Kalamazoo papers about late antique hairstyles I feel like an expert. Ignore me about the hair.

3. Dutton’s anthology indeed includes the tombstone inscription for Hadrian that Charlemagne had put up in San Pietro di Roma, Carolingian Civilization 2nd edn., c. 9.4, but you can also see it here.

4. My go-to book on Gregory, who was an interesting man, is Jeremy Jeffrey Richards’s Consul of God: the life and times of Gregory the Great (London 1980), though there are probably more recent things by now.

5. It’s seemingly not possible to give direct links to a Mandragore record, it’s all dynamic, but the first box in the search page has an index that lets you pretty much pull the thing up.


50 responses to “Have you seen this emperor?

  1. Minor typo – It’s MS Lat. 1141.

    But on a more substantial note, check out A.M. Friend in Speculum 1 (1926): 59-70, where these figures are identified as Clovis being crowned by St Remi, archbishop of Rheims, and St Arnulf, archbishop of Metz, in an echo or perhaps prefigurement of Charles the Bald’s own corronation as king of Lorraine (at Metz in 869), at which two archbishops (Hincmar of Rheims and Adventius of Metz) also presided. It seems to me Friend is on firm ground with this, and in reading it as an icon of the divine election of the Carolingian line intended to emphasise those aspects of its history which especially flatter Charles. He also states that there is no inscription below, and that the Excelsa Voce has come through from the page, as you suspected. (Sadly Mandragore doesn’t show fol. 2r. It must be lacking in pretty pictures!)

    • Brilliant, Kath, thankyou. Surely this stuff doesn’t come under your usual remit, how did you get this knowledgeable?

    • Not even Clovis was so grand a king as to still be reigning in the seventh century during the floruit of Arnulf of Metz, so it would seem very odd if this image is of Clovis being crowned by Remigius AND Arnulf. It would also seem odd to me that a Carolingian king would be “big-upping” a Merovingian, but maybe they’d got over their insecurity by the time this was painted, or perhaps including Arnulf (if it be him) who was the great-great-great grandfather of Charlemagne was a way of saying that it was the Carolingians who gave power to (at least some of) the Merovingians in the first place. Or perhaps the king is Dagobert I (of whom Arnulf was an adviser), who was the subject of 9th-century praise in the Gesta Dagoberti.

      I’d go with: image of two unidentified churchmen flanking one unidentified ruler.

      Mark H.

      • I don’t know, I’d be tempted to see it as a kind of succession depiction, “from Clovis and Arnulf comes your kingship”. I’m not sure it has to depict contemporaries if it’s essentially allegorical.

      • Since I *really* am in procrastination mood today, I just found out that the image is also briefly discussed on p. 148 of: Egon Boshof: Karl der Kahle – novus Karolus magnus?, in: Franz-Reiner Erkens (Ed.): Karl der Große und das Erbe der Kulturen, Berlin 2001, pp. 135–152.

        Boshof lists a handful of previously suggested identifications (apart from those already mentioned here, these are: Pippin with Gregory the Great and Stephen II, and Charlemagne with Gregory and Hadrian I), but marks out Friend’s interpretation as the most likely – with the added piece of information that Clovis, St Remi and St Arnulf were explicitly mentioned in the speech Hincmar gave on occasion of Charles the Bald’s coronation in 869. So, for whatever reasons, the three of them must have had some kind of relevance for Charles and his court.

        Also, wouldn’t the decidedly un-Carolingian look of the ruler in the image suddenly make a lot of sense if we were, in fact, looking at a Merovingian?!

      • Aha! Good point about dates, but perhaps see the comment below about Hincmar’s sermon…

  2. That was a course page belonging to Paul Halsall that gave that description for the image. You can find it via the Wayback Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/20010829235746/http://www.unf.edu/classes/medieval/med-10.htm

  3. Mitch Williamson

    Using the Wayback Machine ‘Deus Tardis’

    The picture is also called…

    Charlemagne between Popes Gelasius and Gregory I in Sacramentary of Charles the Bald

    University of North Florida
    Medieval Europe

    Class 10: Bede and Charlemagne

    Paul Halsall


    Best Wishes

  4. Well, the link is from an old class page of mine, but I have no idea where the idea came from that it was Charlemagne.

    Certainly it represents no guess or research by me, but must have been marked that way in some book.

  5. I couldn’t resist doing a quick search in google books: The Charlemagne-identification seems to appear in: Percy E. Schramm and Florentine Mütherich, Denkmale der deutschen Könige und Kaiser, 2 Volumes., Munich 1962-1978. I can’t really say any more than that because the book was only available in snippet view, but it might be worth looking into some of Schramm’s earlier work on the subject of German emperors and their representation, e.g. Das Herrscherbild in der Kunst des frühen Mittelalters, in: Vorträge der Bibliothek Warburg 2 (1922-23), S. 145-224, or Die deutschen Kaiser und Könige in Bildern ihrer Zeit I. Bis zur Mitte des 12. Jahrhunderts (751-1152), 2 Bde., Leipzig 1928 (München 1983).

    Anyway, I think what might have led to this particular identification is the fact that all three of the figures in the image have halos – which suggests they are saints. Now Gelasius I and Gregory the Great fall into that category, Leo III and Hadrian don’t (or at least not until much later). And if you’re looking for someone who’s a Roman/Carolingian emperor AND a saint, Charlemagne is naturally going to be your first choice. Ironically, though, Charlemagne was only turned into a saint upon instigation of Frederick I Barbarossa in the 12th century, so I guess it’s “back to square one”…

    • The halo was mark of imperial status in art before it was a mark of sainthood. I am not well enough up on the history of this topos to say when it became exclusively a means of ID’ing saints.

      • Yes, I was vaguely aware that in the early medieval / Carolingian era the meaning of a halo was less clearly defined than in later times. But I still believe that most art historians, when confronted with an unidentified haloed figure in a work of art from that period, would lay their bets on the figure being a saint.

    • I was sort of hoping someone would say, “it was Mütherich” and save me the bother of trying to get hold of it and make sure I had die Deutsch richtig verstehen, but knowing that it was where I should start in doing so; I didn’t remember that she’d worked with Schramm, which as you say might well be informative. Thankyou!

  6. Surely any art historian will know far better that me, but the picture has some very specific clues.

    1) Manus Dei on clouds, so the central figure must be an emperor.
    2) Lateral figures, the right one with an open book, the left with a closed one. Same dresses, diferently colored ribbons , blue-red.
    3) The emperor has the right hand veiled,
    4) Each figure shows a distinct finger gesture, one for emperor, two for the left, five for the right.

    I don’t know how to properly interpret those clues, but imo, the number of candidates who fullfill those restrictions, should be quite small.

    • Er, I’m afraid you gravely overestimate the faculties of art historians :-(

      The problem is that, imo, most of the clues you name can be explained on a formalistic basis and don’t necessarily have any meaning on a semantic level: Ad 2) I may be wrong, of course, but to me this simply looks as if the artist was trying to add some *varietas* to otherwise identical figures.

      Something similar may probably be said ad 4) To me, those finger gestures look just like different varieties of conventional speaking gestures, apparently informing the beholder that the three figures are engaged in some sort of conversation. Only the two-finger-gesture of the guy with the closed book could be read as a gesture of blessing but that’s as specific as it gets. And what’s odd is that he appears to do the blessing with his left hand, while a proper blessing should be done with the right.

      Ad 3) Hands are usually veiled when someone is touching, holding or carrying a sacred object (e.g. a reliquary) – compare, for instance, the famous representations of Emperor Justinian in the 6th century mosaics of San Vitale in Ravenna. But the emperor in MS lat 1141 of the BN isn’t holding anything, so this appears to be nothing but a meaningless gesture. The best explanation I can think of is that this figure was copied from a different context where it would have been holding something that simply wasn’t relevant in the new context and therefore left out. This is only a guess, of course, but the old-fashioned, un-Carolingian garb of the figures certainly suggests that the artist was relying on older models of some kind, so its not entirely improbable.

      Ok, I’m afraid none of this is too helpful in identifying the figures in the image, but your insistence on the figures’ hands and gestures made me realize something else: As already mentioned, one of the presumed popes seems to make a gesture of blessing with the wrong hand, and the same has to be said regarding the veiled hand of the emperor: Usually only *one* hand is shown as veiled and it’s always the *left* hand, not the right as shown in the above image. Also, if you take a closer look at the hand of God crowning the emperor, you’ll realize that what we see in the above image is actually a left hand, but according to tradition this should be the “dextera Dei”, the *right* hand of God. Now as Jonathan says, the Mandragore database shows the image with the text backwards, and he rightly concludes that “one of the two sources has reversed the image”. I believe the study of the figures’ hands has at least established which of the sources has the image the right way around and which has it reversed – as it turns out, the Bibliothèque Nationale got it right and what looks suspiciously like *everyone else on the internet* got it wrong. I guess the inverted text, apparently imprinted from the previous page, is the misleading bit, here…

      P.S.: Can you tell that I’m in procrastination mood today?

      • Is it right that the manus Dei must indicate an emperor, though? Kings are also made Dei gratia, surely.

        • Honestly, I really couldn’t say, especially not for the Carolingian era. But the Lexikon der christlichen Ikonographie which conveniently is right by my side does say (in vol. 2, F-K, s.v. “Hand Gottes”, c. 214) that the hand of God holding a crown or a wreath is sometimes found in images of medieval *emperors* – no mention of kings there…

      • Fantastic, so we have a probably roman original image copied backwards (maybe a currency mold?). Then, the question could be: do we know of any ancient emperor image with a manus dei and his left hand veiled?

        It seems that the veiled hand symbol, in origen, relates to ancient roman Fides ritual. Probably Jonathan is right, and this emperor could be Constantine. In IXth century there was the big forgery of the false Isidorian decretals, with all his Constantine stuff/mites. This image could be made in the same context, using a mix of pagan/roman elements taken out of context to build the image of what it was suppoused to be a christian emperor for the frankish catholic ideologues of IXth century (ie: the king with tonsured figures at both sides, it can be read as a clear attemp to sidestep terrenal powers). I am not familiar with all those false decretals, but at least, it seems that the composition is coherent with this context.

        In contrast, there’s an image of Louis the Pious, seting under a blessing manus dei (without crown), with two also seated counselors, one laic and one religious in'(Generalitat de Catalunya : 2002 : “Els comtes sobirans de la Casa de Barcelona”‘ page 30’. (I’ve put a provisional scanned copy here), all they also with fingers gestures, in conversational signals (thanks!).

        • Wow, check out the headgear there! What on earth is the manuscript that’s come from, does your source say?

          • No, that’s the problem! I’ve been searching for the source of this image since the day I bought the book. It seems to come from an art image selling company. The image legend on section ‘Berenguer I (832-835/6)’ p.30, goes:

            L’emperador Lluís el Piadós, fill de Carlemany, Berenguer va pertànyer sempre al cercle de fidels de la dinastia.

            P.S. I will discontinue the image link as soon as this post goes off your front page.

  7. On Greg the Great, R. Markus’ Gregory the Great and His World (1997-ish) is more recent. Sadly, as Conrad Leyser pointed out in his EME review, Markus (who could be a hard man in his treatment of other scholars – hmmm… sounds familiar) treated Jeffrey (n.b.) Richards’ book with something of an unjust damnatio memoriae. Richards was, btw, the subject of the worst viva experience I have ever heard of. Markus’ book is, as you’d expect, v. good but it has some curious blind spots, one being the relationship/similarities/differences between the ideas of Greg the Great and Greg of Tours. But I would say that, I suppose.

    • I’m torn two ways now, because I’ve very much enjoyed what I’ve read of Markus’s stuff, but you almost line me up against this book to start with. But thankyou for the recommendation (and error-trapping).

  8. Not intending to line you up against the book. Just that he makes absolutely no mention at all of Richards’ book; he almost pretends it never existed. I think that the way he was treated by Medieval papal historians was one of the things that turned Richards into a historian of cinema instead!

    • I wonder if it was something he’d had in draft from a long time before, and felt gazumped? Well, we’ll never know now I suppose. I did wonder why Richards’s name didn’t seem to recur thereafter though!

  9. It seems odd if this picture should be of any carolingian – as you point out: No moustache. Other pictorial presentations of Charles the Bold show him with one – see for instance the throne-portrait from a bible kept in San Paolo fuori le Mura used as a cover picture onJanet L. Nelson’s biography from 1992. Also the pictures from his psalter as well as the vivian bible shows him with a moustache. Maybe even the wax-imprint from a ring(?) shows him with one – If you google “Charles the Bald and asks for images, you get them all. Unfortunately I have not been able to find any coins at the internet. See if you agree..

    • If you have a look at this previous post of mine you’ll see we have thought very similarly here. The coinage also seems to show a moustache on Charlemagne, at least; I’ve never seen the portrait coinage of Charles the Bald but as comments to that post indicate, there was one. Certainly, then, there are contemporary images of Charlemagne, albeit old, that disagree with this picture.

      • Update: I do turn out to have one picture of a portrait coin of Charles the Bald, as King of Aquitaine, struck in Bourges (a picture not mine to share, alas); the bust is left-facing, unusually, and it’s quite worn so I wouldn’t want to say moustache or not, but it has the same long rectangular face-shape and big straight nose that the elders of the family displayed on theirs at least. Not really our man in the picture!

  10. I’ll point Cranky here. He’s an actual Carolingianist art historian, after all…

  11. Regarding the clerical figures, I’d think we’ve definitely got archbishops or better here: I’m reading their vestments as episcopal dalmatics under their outwear (note the stylized orpherys on ’em) and both wear the pallia. Other than that, I can’t see anything that is attempting to distinguish them.

  12. This waaaay outside anything I know anything – at all – about. Let me get that straight. That said, I do wonder about this sort of ‘static’ view of art/intellectual history – that is, if it doesn’t look like all the other Carolingians we have pics of, it can’t be a pic of a Carolingian. You can see how that could become something of a circular argument. It also rules out experimentation (down dead ends) and change. So here is my (admittedly ignorant) 2p-worth. What if … say … this was an attempt to portray an emperor, say Charles the Bald, in a more overtly classical light, without facial hair, more in the tradition of the young king that goes back to Alexander the Great, via Constantine? And it was related to some specific circumstance and it didn’t catch on? As you know C the B got a pretty bad press from many quarters, not least for his imperial pretensions.
    On another note – though I’m sure you know this already, on the <1% chance you don't, there is a sequence of Louis the Pious portrait coinage (on which he faces both ways) in Kunst u. Kultur der Karolingerzeit, vol.1, pp.70-71 (with his Dad at pp.69-70).

    • Obviously, I can’t rule that out, who could? and the circularity point is a sharp one. But if so, who would the two archbishops be? One presumably ought to be Hincmar, which would be rather nice, but the other… Sens? Soissons? I’m not sure there’s an obvious single contendor but I suppose one could link it back to the question of who crowns the king and see it as a ‘third way’ statement. Could one reconcile that with Charles’s actual Church politics though? It’s times like this I regret not having purloined Philip Grierson’s copy of Jinty’s book while it was kicking around the Fitzwilliam…

      As for the Louis portrait coinage, some can also be seen here, whence I borrowed it for that previous post I mentioned in which I had more ignorance to confess. The sequence would be worth seeing, though, thankyou for the reference.

  13. Florentine Mutherich (alive and well and sharper than those of us who were not trained by Wilhelm Kohler) wrote the introduction to a facsimile of this sacramentally fragment. I am unhappy with an identification of a specific ruler and specific bishops, and would humbly suggest that Carolingians did not think in those terms (cf the attempt to identify the council scene illustrating the Athanasian creed in the Utrecht Psalter.) That the sacramentary fragment is unfinished may well be relevant. It was featured in the Paris BNF exhibition of Carolingian manuscripts and is on that website.
    An image perhaps of Charles the Bald not so widely discussed is that on the Ellwangen casket, superbly photographed by Genevra Kornbluth, and also without any contemporary identification.

    • Indeed, the BN website was where I first wound up trying to Google it, and what put me onto the backwards script. I would (indeed above I do) share your discomfort with a particular identification, but I am still wondering (unless, as [c] suggests, it’s the halos) where the identification as Charlemagne, Gelasius and Gregory came from in the first place. I’d be similarly reluctant to pin identities to the figures on the casket, too. Two kings, obviously, given the casket, and one distinguished with a slightly more maybe-imperial costume, but with the woman central like that, they could as easily both be her sons. So, I’d as readily pick Carloman and Louis III with Ansgarda as a cross-generational portrait with no visible differentiation by age. But it could be any of them, really!

  14. Dear Jonathan,
    I’ve tried to set out why the identification seems to me difficult, and because that resulted in a long screed, I have taken the liberty of posting it on Celia Chazelle’s EMF site. If anyone is interested perhaps you could supply a link. Thank you for provoking this reaction.

  15. Yes, please post the link…

  16. About Looking: Paris BNF Lat 1141

    In his exemplary blog ‘A corner of Tenth Century Europe’ Jonathan Jarrett recently raised the question of the identify of the figures on f 2 verso of the sacramentary fragment Paris BNF latin 1141. (Have you seen this emperor? 9th January 2012.)
    The entire sacramentary fragment was reproduced in facsimile in 1972 (Codices Selecti Volume XXVIII,) with an introduction by Florentine Mütherich. It is now scanned, and can be viewed on the Trésors carolingiens website of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The opening on f 2verso-3recto shows on the left 3 nimbed standing figures, a layman between two tonsured bishops (wearing pallia), each holding a book, with a hand emerging from clouds and holding a crown above his head, and on the right facing page a seated nimbed figure holding an open book, viewed through a curtain by one of two scribes, as a dove approaches his mouth. Beneath each scene is a purple rectangle, presumably designed to hold text. The right hand scene presents no problems of identification: Gregory the Great was shown at the front of sacramentaries, such as Autun BM 19 made at Tours for abbot Raganaldus of Marmoutier in 844-45, and Gregory with the dove is mentioned in the lives by the Anonymous of Whitby and by Paul the Deacon. The earliest extant representation I have found (with three doves) is in the frescos at St Benedict Mals dating from around 800.

    But the figures on f 2 v remain a problem.
    In 1926 in an article in the very first number of Speculum, Albert Mathias Friend suggested that the figures were Clovis, St Remigius and St Arnulph of Metz, but suggested that they were chosen because these figures were the prototype for Charles the Bald, crowned in Metz on 9th September 869 by Adventius of Metz and Hincmar of Reims. That interpretation was followed by Percy Ernst Schramm in 1928. Other candidates were Pippin and Charlemagne. Both Clovis and Remigius were mentioned by Hincmar of Reims in his coronation speech for the 869 coronation MGH Capitularia II , 337-341, 456-8 . Schramm described the scene as a prototype of the 869 coronation. In 1952 J. Croquison suggested that the bishops were Gregory and Gelasius, and that was accepted by Kantorowicz

    In her introduction to the facsimile Florentine Mütherich suggested that the hand of God crowning the central figure took the scene from its historical context and gave it a more general and symbolic significance, relating it to later depictions of a ruler between two bishops and a ruler crowned by God. More recently McKitterick, Staubach, Alibert and Pinoteau have argued for the identification of the young ruler with Charles the Bald.

    The scene seems to raise problems of methodology.

    1) Does the text of the sacramentary fragment contain anything which helps to interpret the image? Schramm noted that the text of the sacramentary fragment includes a mention of an unidentified king, within the Te igitur on f 7r Et antistite nostro et rege nostro et omnibus orthodoxis atque catholicae et apostolicae fidei cultoribus This addition to the standard text of the sacramentary, according to Deshusses is found only in Tours BM 184, as noted by Garipzanov. But Gelasian Sacramentaries include the prayer Memento Domine famulo tuo rege nostro illo (no 1756)
    So the book contains a rare mention of a king, confirming the evidence of the images that it was made for a king.

    2) Do other images in the book relate to the image on f 2 v? The open book held by the cleric on the right of the image resembles those held by Gregory and his clercs, so that it could be a sacramentary. The assembly of saints adoring Christ on f 5 v incude two tonsured beardless clerics, one holding a closed red book with a jeweled cover, and an open gold book on f 5 v also a beardless male figure with a cloak dressed like the ruler.
    So the figures shown on f 2v could be figures dwelling in heaven, or about to dwell there.

    Kantorowicz thought that the central youthful and beardless figure was the model for the scene of Solomon at his coronation in S Paolo bible.

    3) Do other images in other books relate to this image?
    A) Does the hand of God holding a crown over a ruler occur in other images?
    The earliest instance of this iconography seems to be a gold medallion in Vienna dated to 326/2 showing the hand of God crowning Constantine. Charles the Bald’s mother, Judith is shown beneath a hand of God holding a crown in an acrostic in the copy of Hrabanus on Judith and Esther, Geneva Bibl univ. lat 22, in the Psalter of Charles the Bald, BN Lat 1152 and in the first Bible of Charles the Bald BN Lat 1. In the Stuttgart Psalter Coronation of David in Stuttgart manus Dei holds oil f 24r manus Dei posuisti in capite eius coronam de lapide pretioso (Psalm 20. 4) f 24v manus dei beside crowned king f 3 r, crowned king and manus dei f 100r, throned king with manus Dei f 105r

    B) Are there other images of two standing clerics? Florentine Mütherich published an article about the Godelgaudus sacramentary, destroyed in the Reims fire of 1774, which was copied between 798 and 800 and showed facing figures of Gregory the Great and Remigius, identified by inscriptions in Greek letters. There is a figure of Gregory on a leaf bound into Stuttgart bibl fol 21, and a tenth century Fulda Sacramentary, Berlin theol. Lat fol. 192 shows Gregory and Gelasius, identified by inscriptions, as does Dusseldorf D 2 and Gottingen folio Cod. Ms theol. 231, and Bamberg Lit 1 . So the scene could be at the origin of that iconography, though the facing image of Gregory might contradict that, and the scene shows two bishops attending a coronation.

    4) Does the text of the coronation order for the Metz 869 ceremony relate to the image?

    The Metz ceremony emphasized that the kingdom of Lotharingia had come to Charles the Bald by divine will. Charles had been rebuked by Pope Hadrian II for his seizure of the kingdom.
    Charles the Bald was the first ruler to have a seal inscribed Carolus Dei Gratia Rex, though the title had been used in charters.
    A deo coronatus was used in the ancient Franco-Roman liturgy, and was used of Byzantine emperors by Zacharias in the dating clause of his letters to Boniface Charlemagne a Deo coronato atque magno et pacifico rex Francorum a deo coronatus Justinian opens his law code with a reference to the imperium, quod nobis a caeleste maiestate traditum est. Kantorowicz noted that during an interregnum, from the time of Hadrian I and after the death of Louis II regnante imperatore domno Iesu Christo

    In hagiographical texts a deo coronatus referred to the entry of the saint into heaven.

    At the Metz coronation the prayer Coronet te dominus corona gloriae and the mention of illum a Deo electum et nobis datum Charles says he is concerned with the cultum Dei atque sanctarum ecclesiarum. Since Ambrose the crown of glory had been identified with the church. Eris coronam gloriae in manu Domini The theme was expertly discussed by Sedulius Scottus De Rectoribus Christianis I metrum IV .
    Hincmar affirmed that the same oil was used to anoint Clovis and Charles the Bald

    Tellenbach SB Heidelberg 1934/5 Deus regnorum omnium et Romani maxime protector in Reg Lat 316 731 Ott Lat 313 propitius Romani nominis esto principibus

    5) Are there reasons to associate Charles the Bald with an interest in the liturgy?

    Kantorowicz recalled the mention of the liturgies of Rome, Constantinople and Jerusalem in Charles’s letter to the clergy of Ravenna. The authenticity of this letter was discussed by A, Jonas, the passage quoted by Mabillon seems to be an extract.

    6) What methodological issues are raised by the interpretation of an image?

    Schramm in 1928 justified his purpose in collecting images of rulers dem Herrscherbild eine geistige Tiefdimension zu schaffen Kaiser in Bliden 1928 p. 14 This was a part of the effort to identify what was specific to post classical culture, a topic which Schramm had discussed with Saxl in 1920/21 and to explore the significance of the return to classical models in Carolingian art.

    Kantorowicz objected to the attempt to identify specific rulers in Carolingian verse: ‘It is a futile occupation to try and extract allusions where there are none.’ Carolingian King p. 290

    The problems surrounding this image were fully discussed by Percy Ernst Schramm, ‘Umstrittene Kaiserbilder’, Neues Archiv 47 (1928) at pp 474-77. He printed a list of the saints in the litany and noted that the central figure on f 2v did not resemble any Carolingian ruler portrait., and that there were later
    instances of a living ruler being shown with a nimbus. Schramm’s article seems to me to lay out all of the problems and much of the evidence, it tends not to be read.

    Lastly I note that very many of the texts discussed, the coronation ordo used at Metz, the letter of Charles the Bald to the church at Ravenna, the Reims sacramentary have not survived. It is essential to explore those texts known to the scholars of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, and dangerous to assume that medieval people only had access to those texts and images which have come down to us.

    I append a bibliography of those editions and articles which have proved useful: my apologies if I have excluded anything. I note the importance of consulting works published before 1960. This piece could only have been written in an excellent library: nevertheless two articles have escaped my search, they are marked with an asterix.
    * D. Alibert, “La majesté sacrée du roi : images du souverain carolingien”, Histoire de l’art 5/6 (1989), p. 23-36.
    J. Croquison, “Le sacramentaire de Charlemagne”, Cahiers archéologiques 6 (1952), p. 55-70.
    J. Deshusses, Le Sacramentaire grégorien, ses principales formes d’après les plus anciens manuscrits, I, Fribourg, 1992.
    A. M. Friend, ‘Two manuscripts of the School of St Denis’ Speculum I (1926) 59-70.
    I. Garipzanov, The Symbolic Language of Authority in the Carolingian World (c. 751-877) (Leiden 2008)
    R. A. Jackson, Ordines Coronationis Franciae Texts and Ordines for the Coronation of Frankish and French Kings and Queens in the Middle Ages Volume I (Philadelphia 1995)
    E Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies, A Study in Medieval Political Theology (Princeton 1957)
    E. Kantorowicz, The Carolingian King in the Bible of San Paola fuori le mura in Medieval Studies in Honor of Albert Mathias Friend Jr (Princeton 1955) 287-300.
    W. Koehler, F. Mütherich, Die karolingischen Miniaturen, 5, Die Hofschule Karls des Kahlen, 2 vol., Berlin, 1982.
    R. McKitterick, “Charles the Bald (823-877) and his library : the patronage of learning”, English historical Review 95 (1980), p. 28-47.
    J. L. Nelson, Hincmar of Reims on King-making: the Evidence of the Annals of St Bertin 861-882 in J. Bak (ed) Coronations Medieval and Early Modern Monarchic Ritual (California 1990) p 16-32.
    * H. Pinoteau, “Encore Charles le Chauve et sa symbolique”, Emblemata 2 (1996), p. 9-33.
    E. Rüber, St Benedikt in Mals, (Frankfurt 1991)
    P. E. Schramm Die deutschen Kaiser und Könige in Bildern ihrer Zeit (Leipzig 1928) .
    P.E. Schramm, Umstrittene Kaiserbilder, Neues Archiv 47 (1928) at pp 474-77
    N. Staubach, Rex Christianus, Hofkultur und Herrschaftspropaganda im Reich Karls des Kahlen Teil II Die Grundlegumg der ‘religion royale’ (Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 1993) esp 223-234 Das Metzer Sakramentarfragment
    G. Tellenbach, Römische und christlicher Reichsgedanke in der Liturgie des frühen Mittelalters, SB Heidelberg 1934/5
    D. Thimme, Percy Ernst Schramm und das Mittelalter Gottingen 2003.
    C. Winterer, Das Fuldaer Sakramentar in Göttingen (Petersberg 2009)

  17. Joining in belatedly the fray. The first things I noticed were the halo and yes, sainthood and a clearly Roman outfit. Clovis was a lot of things and is – in theory the grand father of the suspect Merovingian princess (courtesy of Chlothar the Elder) Blithild? wife of Ansbert mother of Arnould of Metz. My impression that that Charlemagne was quite confident in his ancestors and of his own successes not to bother about an hypothetical princess linking him to the previous dynasty. after all, it was Pippin who had shaved and shorn the last Merovingian. The link will start when the dynasty gets weaker as probably the nobility starts muttering it has lost its mojo. Only then a direct link with the founding father of the Frank Realm will be needed and if needs be invented. This starts in 870 or about. Probably as the Vikings were creating havoc in the empire along the Magyars… Clovis never lost his luck, won many battles, had God on his side (so they say) and through marriage united Burgundy to the realm. But why Chlothar the Elder and not Chlothar the 2nd . Well, the answer is obvious: Chlothar 1st was without any doubt the son of his father and certainly the old geezer had a fair amount of sons but Charibert: sole heir Bertha of Kent and A-S ensuing dynasty. Gunthram his sons die before him Chramm only had daughters and he died famously before his unmerceiful father as for Sigebert he only had one son who had 2 sons who also disappeared with their grandmother Brunehildis. We are now left with Chilperic and his almost posthumous son. A son whose right to be called his son was strongly in doubt. Gregory does not hide his disgust and doubts on the legitimacy of Chlothar the second and – yes -, we cannot but notice the Austrasian aristocracy among which Charlemagne counts his own ancestors behaved like they knew something we do not and got scot free about numerous issues with Chlothar the Second. I can understand why the Carolingians would wish to be related to the previous dynasty to Clovis through a certified son through an apocryphal princess rather than a dubious very much historical royal cuckoo. As for the two characters St Remigius and St Vaast could be an option. try to provide an enlargement of the objects they carry it may lead us to their names

    • I’m pretty sure that the objects they carry are both books, and the left-hand one in the correct image has a nicely-decorated cover but no other obvious identifying features. The right-hand one seems to be lined out with dots between alternate lines; I don’t think they’re letters, it’s just letter-like decoration. I don’t think this tells us anything other than that they were supposed to be preachers, which would be any bishop alas. Though you may well be right about when the Merovingian predigree became useful to emphasise – I think the enforced focus on the western kingdom probably also interests Charles the Bald’s churchmen in a Reims-connected ancestor – I’m still not sure that this image relates to it!

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