Liturgy, coins and buried saints in 870s Barcelona: Bishop Frodoí of Barcelona reexamined

I’m sorry as usual about the gap between posts here; my excuse this time, apart from the treadmill of lecture preparation (which is actually teaching me stuff and making me think, as subsequent blog will eventually show), is that this post actually required research, because not least I know that one of the regular readers has written around this topic and I wanted to make sure I knew what they’d said before I charged in. The background to this post is a conversation at the Ecclesiastical History Society conference in 2014, when people were encouraging me to come to next year’s meeting, whose theme was translation. Someone making the point that for the Ecclesiastical History Society that could as well include the ‘translation’ of saints’ relics from one site to another got me thinking about Saint Eulalie of Barcelona, and from there I was tempted to try and intervene in the messy but inescapable historiographical circle that seems to orbit her early medieval cult. In the end, I never did offer the paper, but I did a bit of reading around it and realised all the problems afresh, consulted some of the primary evidence and wanted to express my uncertainty about what people have written. That meant I had to read more of it and now, here we are and I’ve written what’s nearly a paper anyway. But let me explain the problem.

Crypt of Saint Eulalie in cathedral of Santes Creu i Eulàlia de Barcelona

Crypt of Santa Eulalia” by Bernard GagnonOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Saint Eulalie, to whom the cathedral of Barcelona is jointly dedicated and where her remains are held to rest in the very snazzy Gothic sarcophagus above, was supposedly martyred under the auspices of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, as are a great many martyrs whose stories are only known from much later. After suffering various and eventually lethal tortures her body was laid to rest in Santa Maria de les Arenes, which was subsequently rebuilt into the rather lovely Santa Maria del Mar, on which more in a future post. According to the narrative of Eulalie’s own translatio, her remains were hidden in 713 when the city was about to fall to the Muslims, and only recovered at some point before 878 (perhaps 877), when Bishop Frodoí of Barcelona and the visiting Archbishop Sigebod of Narbonne made a determined search which came up with nothing, and then Frodoí made a return visit and was divinely guided to the spot where her body was. She was duly moved to the bishop’s cathedral of Santa Creu, with a certain amount of difficulty eventually overcome, and now the cathedral is Santes Creu i Eulàlia.1 So far so conventional, right?

Interior of the cloister of Santes Creu & Eulàlia de Barcelona

Interior of the cloister of Santes Creu & Eulàlia de Barcelona

Now, the earliest manuscript of the translatio is fourteenth-century, and the ninth and tenth centuries are periods that just don’t generate saints’ lives from Catalonia as far as we know, so it is likely that this was written up rather later than the events, but there is some reason to believe at least the chronology of the story.2 Sigebod and Frodoí were contemporaries and a royal precept for Frodoí of 878 mentions the saint’s remains at the cathedral, the first text to do so.3 Frodoí had been bishop of Barcelona since at least 862 but Sigebod archbishop only since 873 so if that detail’s right the window is actually quite tight. The problem is Frodoí, and the translatio is tied into this problem. Now, if you can find anything to read about Bishop Frodoí of Barcelona (attested 862-890), it will probably say three things:

  1. he was a Frank appointed by Charles the Bald;
  2. that he found the body of Saint Eulalie;
  3. and that he oversaw the change of the liturgy in Barcelona from the old Hispanic rite of worship to the Gallo-Roman one favoured by the Franks.

It will, indeed, usually link all these things: he was appointed to deal with the liturgical independence, so needed to be a Frank, and this was so unpopular that we find him poking round Santa Maria de las Arenes looking for some way to increase his standing and show God’s backing for his plans.4

Diner de transició supposedly of Bishop Teodoric of Barcelona (904-922)

Diner de transició supposedly of Bishop Teodoric of Barcelona (904-922), according at least to Martí Hervera S. L. in 5 July 2011, but they have the supposed tomb the wrong way up and didn’t sell it, so what did they know?

The other thing that whatever you’re reading may also say is that Frodoí was responsible for the beginning of independent minting in Barcelona. This also winds up being connected, because the reason that the particular coin type in question is assigned to him is that it may (or may not) show the tomb of Saint Eulalie.5 There at least we have the coins, and we also have a concession to his see of the right from King Louis II (877-879), though many such concessions exist that we can’t show were ever used.6 But for the first three points, and particularly the first and third, evidence is really very hard to find, and without them the basic interpretation of the second, in its fourteenth-century post facto write-up, becomes very shaky indeed. There is one key piece of evidence that is usually dragged into this, the records of a council at Attigny in 874 at which Frodoí and his see were most of the business dealt with, but if you look at it without these preconceptions it’s not at all clear to me that it supports this case, as I’ll show below.7 Instead, all of the suppositions cling to each other for mutual support but lack a solid footing. I started into this post because I’d just re-read the Attigny record and realised this afresh, but if I want you to believe my scepticism I need to tackle points (1) and (3) first, and I might as well also set out my stall about the coinage as I go.

The Palais de Charlemagne at Attigny

Lacking a more relevant image. I searched for the palace of Attigny and it turns out firstly that something survives called that, and secondly it was built in the sixteenth century but looks weirdly like whoever built it knew the Lorsch Torhalle. Doesn’t it? I guess, with no knowledge, that this is a rebuild of a palace gatehouse from before people could remember… “Palais de Charlemagne d’Attigny” by Adri08Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

So, was he Frankish? The only evidence for this that is ever adduced is his name, which is basically unparalleled in Catalonia. “On devine dejà par son nom qu’il était originaire d’une région germanique de l’empire”, wrote Anscarí Mundó without citation in 1971, for example.8 This is a dangerous thing to say from a local context; it may not look like a local name, sure, but that doesn’t tell you where it is from. But these days, we can check this thanks to the Nomen et Gens project. As it happens, they lump the name in under Chrodoin and have no cases of it spelt with an initial F. They have 65 cases of it spelt otherwise, but almost all of them are from Wissembourg, only two not and those two are someone acting as a scribe for a royal charter at the same sort of time, end of the seventh and beginning of the eighth centuries. The Wissembourg occurrences also feature a number of scribal appearances as notarius and so on, and so there is at least a starting possibility that these are in fact all the same guy.9 Even if not, it’s obviously not a common name anywhere as far as we can tell except maybe the modern Saarland two centuries before our bishop comes to notice, and he spells and pronounces it differently. So I’m calling suspicion on that conclusion; we obviously can’t say where Frodoí was from, we can’t even say where his name was from but if we could that wouldn’t prove anything, and while he did have dealings with Charles the Bald and his son Louis the Stammerer, so might any bishop of their kingdom have during the messy civil war of the era, in which Barcelona, famously (at least for old readers here) and unlike more ‘Germanic’ areas closer to the court, stayed loyal to the kings. So while I don’t say that Frodoí wasn’t a Frankish reformer, the evidence is weak apart unless we allow the liturgical change to be part of it.

Then, because I want to do the liturgy last, the coinage. This is pinned to Frodoí by the so-called tomb of Saint Eulalie—but if that’s what that symbol really is it would also work for any bishop of Barcelona after him (like Teodoric above). King Charles the Bald (840-877) had reformed the coinage of the West in 864 and this seems not to have been carried out in Catalonia, suggesting to some that they were already doing their own thing, but that still doesn’t mean that they had to start their own at the reform date; perhaps they just weren’t minting at Barcelona in 864 and when they resumed, perhaps in the 890s, Charles’s specifications were a dead letter.10 So the reasons to suppose they’re Frodoí’s are basically his association with Saint Eulalie, which his successors would have shared, and that assuming that that is what that coin shows, and that otherwise Barcelona would have had no coin in production, which is just horror vacui. Furthermore, if these coins are Frodoí’s, it messes somewhat with point 1, because they show him ignoring royal instructions rather than carrying them out despite opposition, and this from a man who would visit the Carolingian court at least twice more thereafter. So I do think, on balance, that they are more likely to be later.11

Crypt of Santa Eulàlia de Barcelona

A different shot of the crypt, this one chosen because you can just see the supposed original tomb in it, because it is stashed at the back of the crypt, here just visible between the pillars of the Gothic one in which the saint now resides. the crypt is kept locked and this is as good a camera angle as one can get on it, I know having tried. It’s really frustrating. This photo is by vinpet942 on Panoramio and used under their Creative Commons license.

So the translatio and the liturgical change are the crucial diad that anchors the rest of this, and you’ve seen what the evidence for the translatio is: a fourteenth-century copy of a text maybe little earlier (since it regards the cult as well established) which has some details in it that look right but could have come from the 878 charter. It’s not implausible but it’s not a lot and it certainly doesn’t mention liturgical reform. So what’s the evidence for that? Well, all too often it is just that Frodoí was a Frankish royal appointment and therefore must have danced to the conformist tunes of the Carolingian cultural project, but as we’ve seen the evidence for that is non-existent, if those coins are his he seems to have been willing to ignore royal legislation when it suited him and anyway we no longer believe so fervently in uniformity as a goal of the Carolingian project anyway.12 One other thing that has been linked is an apparent rebuild of part of the old cathedral of Barcelona at around this time, but although that could be significant it is also circular: the evidence for dating the works to Frodoí’s rule is that we ‘know’ he was instrumental in changing the liturgy, so we can’t really then use the cathedral works as proof that he did so!13 Is there nothing better? And to this, those who know this area will probably already be saying: of course there is, there’s the synod of Attigny in 874! And indeed there is, so let’s have a look at it. It survives as a capitulary, so it’s already conveniently in sections which can be summarised.14

  1. Bishop Frodoí reports that a Cordoban priest called Tirs has set up shop in a church, within the Barcelona city walls but without episcopal authorisation, and managed to appropriate two parts of the city’s tithe from the congregation he’s attracted; here are a whole bunch of canon law citations and cites from the laws of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious about how this is wrong (which actually comprise two-thirds of the document); since it’s a long way and dangerous to bring these people from the March (even though Frodoí had made it, but moving on), King Charles delegates dealing with this to his marquis in the area.
  2. Frodoí also demands that he should get back the ministry of the castle of Terrassa, which ‘by the insolence of the priest’ (presumably still Tirs) has been acquired by ‘the faction of Baió’; there are several council rulings about why that’s wrong too.
  3. Lastly, Frodoí also reports that a Goth called Madeix has taken over the church of Sant Esteve in Barcelona and turned it over to the ‘conversation of rustics’ and another Goth called Requesèn has grabbed the field of Santa Eulàlia, and both of them claim they have these things by royal precepts; the king thus being implicated, he sends missi to investigate this and they are to send a report to the court; if it turns out that these Goths do in fact hold by royal grant, then those grants are to be sealed and sent back to the king too, and examined according to the law so that he can see how they lied to get them and cancel it.

And that’s it. Now, do you see anything about liturgy in there? I mean, it is clear that Frodoí has problems; large parts of his congregation would rather go and listen to some fly-by-night from the south, who seems to be able to reorganise ecclesiastical property at whim, while Frodoí’s church’s property is being nibbled at by people who seem at least to have royal connections, but, even if I put the full text in here you’d see nothing about liturgy.

Now, it may be that liturgy is implied: it has been correctly observed that a priest from Córdoba at this time would be trained in the Hispanic rite still, and maybe this is why he had such an attraction to Frodoí’s flock, but if so in this lengthy complaint about all the things he was doing wrong, it never comes up; instead, his independent operation in the face of the diocesan bishop’s authority is the be-all and end-all of the ruling, some of which is actually supported from Visigothic councils! The other hidden factor that may be here is that Terrassa had once had a bishopric of its own, at Egara, swallowed into Barcelona by the Frankish reorganisation. This gives some context as to how a priest could set up there, presumably in the late antique complex of Sant Pere, Santa Maria and Sant Miquel de Terrassa below, and defy a bishop; but Tirs was working inside Barcelona, where it seems decently obvious Frodoí had almost no power, so while it’s likely that that’s in there somewhere, it’s not clear how.

What we can safely say from this document, then, is that in 874, very few people in Barcelona were willing to listen to their bishop, and were entertaining alternatives; it may be that that is because he was forcing upon them an unpopular but apparently somewhat delayed change of liturgy, but if so that isn’t what he asks for help with; it may because he was a foreigner, and ‘Goths’ do seem to be part of the problem, but Tirs was presumably hardly less so and you know what I think Goths are here anyway.15

Panoramic view of the three churches of Egara at Terrassa.

Panoramic view of the three churches of Egara at Terrassa. “Egara. Conjunt episcopal” by Oliver-BonjochOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

So, really, you have already to believe that liturgy was an issue for Frodoí’s episcopate before you can see it here. So what is the basis for believing that there was a Carolingian attack on the Hispanic liturgy? Good question, to which the answer is basically that that liturgy goes away. There is no legislation against it as such, and in fact really no texts that mention it other than booklists. Now, from those, you can do something: the late Anscarí Mundó long ago argued, from the manuscripts he knew so well but cited so rarely, that the window of change is 785xc. 1000. He thought it was probably early in that window, by reason of it being unlikely that any imported personnel would know or use the Hispanic liturgy, so that with the steady replacement of local priests by immigrant ones or ones trained by the cathedrals of immigrant bishops, the Hispanic liturgy would be less and less used, and he listed the immigrant bishops and observed a near-total dropout of evidence for the copying of texts of the Hispanic liturgy over the ninth century.16

This all makes sense to me, and it is also roughly how I think charter formulae were changed, but where I differ from Mundó is in how much compulsion I think was involved and how total this replacement was. Booklists of course tend to be in the wills of people who had lots of stuff, and it’s at the lower levels that I think we see more interesting things. For example, do you remember my writing about Bishop Nantigis of Urgell and the non-heretical priest Adeudat, who in 901 had an ordo toletanum, a Toledan priest’s service-book, to give to his church at Guils de Cantó? It’s among a bunch of other service books which would probably have been Latin rite, but nonetheless he passed it on and Bishop Nantigis didn’t stop him doing so.17 This far out, having a priest who was able to carry out the ministry at all was probably more important than exactly which service they used. Probably in most cathedrals or old mother churches there would have been a copy, probably increasingly battered and hard to replace, for the rare occasions when the priests from there officiated at such places. And that’s in the early tenth century, pace Mundó.

Part of a leaf from a Hispanic-rite breviary from fourteenth-century Toledo, Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, MS 10110, fo 2r

Part of a leaf from a Hispanic-rite breviary from fourteenth-century Toledo, Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, MS 10110, fo 2r, borrowed from Ainoa Castro Correa, “Codex of the month (IX): Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, ms 10110″. Littera Visigothica (October 2015), with thanks

So, if in fact there wasn’t an effective Carolingian campaign to stamp out the Hispanic liturgy, but a slow and opportunistic replacement of it instead, where does this leave Bishop Frodoí? Not obviously Frankish; not visibly any kind of reformer; extremely unpopular for a time at least in his episcopal city and with only grudging support from local secular authority; backed to the hilt, nonetheless, by the king whose orders some numismatists would have us believe he ignored; and held later, but not in contemporary evidence, to be the finder of Saint Eulalie’s relics. And that might well still be true, or at least I don’t think there’s any obvious reason to disbelieve it and plenty of signs that needed whatever support he could get; but I think any attempt to bring liturgical reform into the reasons he was disliked is just basically unfounded! And that means that everything that is founded on that belief is also in trouble…

1. The stock reference for all this is Ángel Fabrega Grau, Santa Eulalia de Barcelona: revisión de una problema histórico (Roma 1958), online here, which prints the source text pp. 151-155; the revised date of 877 is suggested in Joan Vilaseca Corbera, “Sant Vicenç i Santa Eulàlia, la cristianització del culte a Apol·lo i la política internacional carolíngia de la segona meitat del segle IX” in idem, Recerques sobre l’Alta Edat Mitjana Catalana (II) (Terrassa 2013), pp. 1-95 at pp. 64-65, and he certainly shows that it can’t easily have been 878. I should also mention that I owe my copy of this work to the generosity of the author; thankyou Joan, it has made me think!

2. Fabrega used Archivo de la Catedral de Barcelona, MSS 104, 105 & 108 which are early-fourteenth to early fifteenth-century in his estimation.

3. That precept printed as Ramon d’Abadal i de Vinyals (ed.), Catalunya Carolíngia II: els diplomes carolingis a Catalunya, Memòries de la Secció històrico-arqueològica 2 & 3 (Barcelona 1926-1952), 2 vols, Barcelona: Esglésie Catedral de Santa Creu II.

4. I think this must come from Fabrega, but I first met it in Miquel Crusafont i Sabater, “La moneda barcelonina del segle X. Altres novetats comtals” in Acta Numismàtica Vol. 38 (Barcelona 2008), pp. 91-121 at pp. 94-95, without citation, which is how I’ve usually met it since, as e. g. in J.-F. Cabestany, “El culte de Santa Eulàlia a la Catedral de Barcelona (S. IX-X)” in Lambard: estudis d’art medieval Vol. 9 (Barcelona 1996-1997), pp. 159-165, online here, last modified 8th February 2007 as of 20th June 2009, where the only relevant citation is to Ramon d’Abadal i de Vinyals, Els primers comtes catalans, Biografies catalanes: sèrie històrica 1 (Barcelona 1958, repr. 1980), which doesn’t in fact support the claims.

5. Crusafont, “Moneda barcelonina”, p. 96, again without citation; Miquel Crusafont, Anna M. Balaguer and Philip Grierson, Medieval European Coinage, with a Catalogue of the Coins in the Fitzwilliam Museum, 6: the Iberian Peninsula (Cambrdge 2013), p. 73, however says the first publication of the idea is Miquel Crusafont i Sabater, Numismàtica de la Corona Catalano-Aragonesa medieval (785-1516) (Madrid 1982), p. 31; cf. Joaquim Botet y Sisó, Les monedes catalanes (Barcelona 1908-1911), 3 vols, I p. 189, Xavier Sanahuja i Anguera, “La moneda de Barcelona al segle X segons les troballes Epsanya-1 i Espanya-2 (925)” in Acta Numismàtica Vol. 36 (Barcelona 2006), pp. 79-113 at p. 94 and Jonathan Jarrett, “Currency change in pre-millennial Catalonia: coinage, counts and economics” in Numismatic Chronicle Vol. 169 (London: Royal Numismatic Society 2010 for 2009), pp. 217-243 at p. 220, all of which argue that a modification of the Carolingian ‘temple’ reverse type seems more likely.

6. For the concession see n. 3 above; for unused minting concessions in the area see Jarrett, “Currency change”, pp. 224-225.

7. The Attigny record is printed in Abadal, Catalunya Carolíngia 2, ap. VII, among other places.

8. A. M. Mundó, “Les changements liturgiques en Septimanie et en Catalogne pendant la période préromane” in Cahiers de Saint-Michel de Cuxa Vol. 2 (Codalet 1971), pp. 29-42 at p. 38.

9. It doesn’t seem to be possible to link to a search in Nomen et Gens, but it’s easy enough to run; I searched for ‘Frod%’ without quotes. The Wissembourg Chrodoin occurs or Chrodoins occur in Karl Glöckner and Ludwig Anton Doll (edd.), Traditiones Wizenburgenses: die Urkunden des Klosters Weissenburg (661-864) (Darmstadt 1979), doc. nos 36, 45, 46, 169, 186, 194-196, 202, 213, 218, 224-227, 232, 239, 244, 247, 256, 257, 261 & 265 and Theo Kölzer (ed.), Die Urkunden der Merowinger, Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Diplomata regum Francorum e stirpe Merovingica) I (Hannover 2001), 2 vols, doc. no. 1. What d’you reckon, Alan?

10. Compare Miquel Crusafont, “Nou tipus carolingi de Barcelona de Carles el Calb: el diner de Barcelona fins a R. Berenguer I” in II Simposi numismatic de Barcelona (Barcelona 1980), pp. 47-55 to Simon Coupland, “The early coinage of Charles the Bald” in Numismatic Chronicle Vol. 151 (London 1991), pp. 121-158, reprinted in Coupland, Carolingian coinage and the Vikings: studies on power and trade in the 9th century, Variorum Collected Studies 847 (Aldershot 2007), IX, at p. 126; it’s not very often Simon Coupland’s missed a coin, but on this occasion…

11. In this respect I now differ from Jarrett, “Currency Change”, pp. 219-220.

12. See Stuart Airlie, “The Cunning of Institutions” in Jennifer R. Davis & Michael McCormick (edd.), The Long Morning of Medieval Europe: new directions in early medieval studies (Aldershot 2008), pp. 267-271.

13. Cabestany, “El culte de Santa Eulàlia”, tries the logic I argue against here.

14. See n. 7 above.

15. I follow Jesus Lalinde Abadia, “Godos, hispanos y hostolenses en la órbita del rey de los Francos” in Federico Udina i Martorell (ed.), Symposium internacional sobre els orígens de Catalunya (segles VIII-XI) (Barcelona 1991-1992), 2 vols, also published as Memorias de le Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona Vols 23 & 24 (Barcelona 1991-1992), II pp. 35-74, online here.

16. Mundó, “Changements liturgiques”.

17. Cebrià Baraut (ed.), “Les actes de consagracions d’esglesies del bisbat d’Urgell (segles IX-XII)” in Urgellia: anuari d’estudis històrics dels antics comtats de Cerdanya, Urgell i Pallars, d’Andorra i la Vall d’Aran Vol. 1 (Montserrat 1978), pp. 11-182, doc. no. 14.


15 responses to “Liturgy, coins and buried saints in 870s Barcelona: Bishop Frodoí of Barcelona reexamined

  1. There are some other documented Frodoinus. on a nearby context. Not sure about Chrodoin being the same name as Frodoi, to me, Frodenaz could be a better match, but N&G is not working right now, so i can’t check-it.
    On the rest, too many things to comment, overall, too decontextualized for my taste, it seems to me that most of your objections can be resolved reading the whole context.

    P.S. Great to know that Fabrega’s book is now online! Thanks!

    • You make it sound as if I have a counter-thesis! All I’m saying is that the historiography has invented Frodoí’s connection to liturgical reform, which by analogy with other processes of change we can track better would have happened very slowly and patchily. It’s clear Frodoí was not taken very seriously in Barcelona, and that he used the king to try and change that; that all makes a plausible context for an inventio but there are others too! After all, by your arguments wouldn’t 858 be as plausible a time to expect the inventio, when St Vincent is also being talked about everywhere? But it’s not the association of Frodoí with the inventio I really want to challenge here, though I wish there were better evidence for it; it’s his supposed liturgical reform, because as far as I can see the only evidence for that is that one of his opponents in Barcelona was from Córdoba. What am I missing?

      But thankyou for the extra instances of the name; I should have thought of checking Cathalaunia, sorry. They’re especially interesting because pace Mundó again, neither of them are from ‘Germanic’ areas of the Empire.

      • Well, Frodoi/Wifred side clearly won and the cult of Eulalia spread on northern frankish kingdom (on a side note: about 858 vs 877, Eulalia’s inventio occurs between the death of Charles and the appointment of Louis, a very sensible moment, – theatrically: A kingdom without king, an empire without crown! -).
        About liturgy, yes, I am somehow with you, it’s unclear, just three elements.
        1) ‘conversatio rusticorum’ can be also read as: ‘rustic customs’, so if there was a cultural rustic vs noble divide maybe it could be paired with a visigoth=old=worse vs frankish=new=better religious tradition one (ie: adoptionism).
        2) Note also that the lex gothorum was changed acording to pope’s desires, something not only unusual, but extraordinary afaik, and that the new charges were about ‘sacrilegy’ something probably worse than a simple difference in what book to use in the mass.
        3) There are also the changes/’restaurations’ on the cathedral in Frodoi’s time, something usualy related to liturgy changes.

        Overall, it seems to me that it’s not easy to afirm an explicit liturgical reform in Frodoi’s time, (we should know better the situation before him, to support such an specific claim), but it seems clear that the few available elements points to an increase of pro-frankish positions with the consolidation of the family of Wifred in the land…

        About Mundo, well, I don’t know, but maybe Burgundy looks more ‘germanic’ seen from the south than from the north! :)

        • I agree with almost all of that, hurray! Certainly 877 must have been a very uncertain time for Frodoí. I also think you may be right about ‘rustics’ implying old worship, but if so I think it’s even more significant that, although this text is explicitly complaining about the situation, it doesn’t do so in terms of liturgy. As for the changes to the cathedral, as far as I can see Cabestany dates them to Frodoí because we ‘know’ that he also reformed the liturgy! A circle. And as for the pope’s new laws, aha, that is to be the subject of the post after next. Excellent.

          I have been thinking further about this between teaching today, and it seems to me that if the Carolingians had intended to change the liturgy (even though they kept the local law and local document forms) that would have started early on in their rule; Frodoí seems weirdly late, at a point when the Carolingian grip on the area is already much weaker. On the other hand, we still have codices mistici around in the early tenth century, which suggests that whatever Frodoí and his colleagues did was not very well enforced. It’s not that I don’t think that Carolingian rule wasn’t sometimes enforced with armies, I’m sure it was and the revolt of Aizó makes this very clear, I think; but I think that the Hispanic liturgy was probably not so much replaced as merely retired, very slowly. As for other pro-Frankish elements, well, that is a long conversation we could have next time I’m in Barcelona!

          • Frodoi do made changes on the cathedral and canonical, what it’s usually suppoused is the associated liturgy change, yes. Just following this thread, I’ve found a good overview of changes in Barcelona’s cathedral, maybe you already know of : Vergés Trias, Martí i Vinyoles Vidal, Teresa : 2000 : “De la seu de Frodoí a la Catedral romànica de Barcelona” : Boletín de la Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona : 47 p.9-49.

            • Aha, no, that is new to me: thankyou!

              • But you see:

                “La construcció d’aquesta catedral, o la reforma pre-romànica d’una seu anterior, podriem situar-la a l’època del bisbe Frodoí (861-890), que fou enviat a Barcelona com a home de confiança e Carles el Calb (874-877) [sic]. Carles el Calb nomenà un bisbe, molt probablement franc, per ocupar la seu de Barcelona, que havia esdevingut ja la ciutat clau dels comptats catalans dependents dels francs.”

                P. 20, no citation! And, sure enough:

                Frodoí havia arribat a Barcelona el 861 per nomenament directe del rei Carles el Calb, dotat d’abundants poders i de mitjans econòmics, com ja s’ha vist. Sembla clar que el bisbe Frodoí portava l’encàrrec d’acabar amb el culte local visigòtic i substituir-lo pel romà o carolingi. En aquest entorn sabem que Frodoí reparava la catedral. La motivació principal degué ser la necessitat de fonamentar la reforma litúrgica que es recolzava en el culte dels màrtirs; i s’havien construït infinitat de temples a i’imperi franc amb una cripta o confessio per guardar els cossos dels màrtirs, generalment de procedència o amb vinculació local.”

                P. 21, no citation. Si, sembla ben clar! A alguns… And it duly goes on to say that the contest with Tirs was about the liturgy and that this was discussed at the Attigny council (pp. 21-22), which one can easily see it was not. This is exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about! And as far as I can see there’s no actual dating evidence for the pre-Romanesque rebuild at all; this uncited recycling is the evidence…

                • es, I see your point – lack of explicit evidence -, but the context is coherent with a liturgy change in Wifred/Frodoi times. And let’s be fair, the Vergés & Vinyoles article is not about liturgy is about the physical evolution of the Barcelona’s cathedral (C4-11th), and Frodoi clearly do made changes.


                  Al final del seu regnat (877) Carles el Calb, per mà del jueu Judacot, envià una carta als bercelonins: “omnibus barchinonensibus peculiaribus nostris”, i 10 lliures d’argent destinades al bisbe per la reparació de la seu: “dirigo ad Frodoynum, episcopum, libras X de argento ad suam ecclesiam reparare“. Sabem doncs que el bisbe estava fent, o almenys volia fer, obrea a la catedral. Poc després arribà el privilegi de Lluís el Tartamut (877-879), que ens dóna a conèixer la restauració de la canònica. “Concedimus eidem episcopo licencian canonicam eidem ecclesie restaurandi, que penitus destructa esse.” Si considerem la vinculació estretíssima entre la seu i la canónica arribem a la conclusió que en els anys anteriors al 877 tingué lloc alhora la construcció d’una nova seu, o reconstrucció de l’anterior, i d’una residència canònica.

                  Can we explicitely say that Frodoi changed the liturgy on Barcelona? No, Can we deny-it? Neither. But it’s easy to see that the context is optimal – changes on the cathedral and associated buildings, and triumph of the bishop over his ‘gothic’/’muzarabic’ enemies -. Take-it the other way, the remains of Eulalia had to be accomodated on the cathedral, do you really think that local liturgy was not chaged? Do you think that Frodoi promoted ‘conversatio rusticorum’ about the new tomb in the altar of St. Marie? Do you really think that the inventio of the most famous sainte of occidental Europe christianity and patron of the city does not included a liturgical change? If so, in what sense?

                  In any case, I am not an expert on early medieval christian liturgy, Mundó was, so I am not going to take his oppinions lightly, and I would add that imo changes in the liturgy were just a small part of what was going on those days, a part that being textual, we can try to track and document, even slightly, but the biggest part probably still escapes our scrutiny, that’s the really interesting part to me. :)

                  • I had not actually looked hard enough through that article to find the references to the restoration work implied by that letter! Nor had I actually thought of how it might bear on this question. Both very good points, thankyou. I have to concede that Frodoí is a good candidate for rebuilding work, and must think about that a while. As for Mundó, though, I don’t mean to deny his expertise at all; in fact, I think that article makes a very good case that we should expect liturgical change sooner than this in key locations, like Barcelona, and I find it peculiar how even he seems to have found himself drawn towards the supposed date of the inventio. I think that the alternative I am slowly formulating here is that the adoption of the Roman liturgy need not have meant the expunging of the Hispanic one, for whose survival in non-key locations I think the evidence is not good, but better than that for its prohibition. I bet that Frodoí too had a misticus for when he officiated at such places, even if he didn’t use that rite in his cathedral. And I absolutely agree that the incorporation of a major new saint into the church’s liturgy would have meant new ceremony and revision of old ones, and that that would have been on Roman lines. What I don’t think we know is that he was either the first bishop of Barcelona to use the rite there (why so late?) or that his predecessor was the last to use the Hispanic one in the bishopric.

                    As an aside, I’d also say that we don’t, in fact, know, that Frodoí did triumph over his enemies in Barcelona, only that Charles ordered something to be done. We don’t know that it worked! Indeed, if Frodoí was getting a confirmation of his rights from Louis the Stammerer at the first possible chance and taking part in a plea to the pope to do something about sacrilege, I’d guess he still had problems four years after Attigny, wouldn’t you?

                    One thing on which we do certainly agree, though: there was a great deal happening which we can’t see, and it’s really interesting!

  2. Allan McKinley

    On the Chrodoins I believe from memory there are at least three and probably four people of that name active in the Saargau and Alsace during the eighth and ninth centuries. Context suggests and in a couple of cases is pretty definitive that these are all members of the same family. I might not agree with all his conclusions but the best work on this family is Hans Hummer’s book (with the proviso that there is no reason to see this family as opposed to Pippin II and Charles Martel).

    I haven’t traced the family outside the Wissembourg area (although this may be mainly due to not ever having sought to do so) but other local families certainly expanded to new areas under the Carolingians. The descendents of Duke Adalrich crop up in Italy and the Bretton March as well as in Septimania and it is likely other local families also benefitted from the opportunities that Carolingian rule presented either through royal association or as followers of those with royal associations to set themselves up elsewhere.

    All of which is to say that Frodoí may be a member of the family associated with Wissembourg but that does not mean he was not local to Barcelona as well… It may be a rare name but considering both elements of it were common it seems unlikely that Frodoí can be firmly attached to a family due to his name alone. Even if we argue that he could be related to the Saarland Chrodoins there is nothing to say he was not the second or third generation of a relatively local (to Catalonia) branch of that family.

  3. Rather than adding to an already long argument I will keep my thought short. Jonathan I agree with you. I would call the whole argument a house of cards but that would be giving it too much weight. Just because something is possible doesn’t make it probable. It seems to me what you always try to offer is the probable.

  4. Pingback: Adding to the Law of the Goths once the Goths were gone | A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe

  5. I must say that I agree with you on much of what you say here. (Sorry for having dropped off in my reading of your blog–and even worse in the writing of my own, but work…)

    I was just in the middle of writing/revising some of my thoughts on the issues surrounding Bishop Frodoi, and they are largely in line with what you have to say here. I take more risk on saying things about the translation that most people might be comfortable with, given the evidence, but even that is just an extension on your remarks about how he needed to shore up his position and conducting a translation might have been one of the tricks he used to do so.

    My thoughts along these lines ought to be in print soon. I hope.

    • Well, I have hardly been able to add anything for a year or more now, and while I keep hoping this blog may not be dead, there is currently no immediate plan to resuscitate, so I can’t take any more pride in my Internet presence than you seem to be doing. But I completely understand and sympathise. More importantly, I will look forward to seeing your take on all of this. Joan’s comments about restoration work leave me slightly less certain of my ground than I was when I originally wrote this, but I still have some real misgivings about the lack of evidence for these associations. When I first wrote this post I spent ages looking for a quote I dimly remembered about two men in mid-air clutching each other for support. I didn’t find it but it’s still how I see the scholarship here!

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