Geoffrey Koziol, The Politics of Memory and Identity in Carolingian Royal Diplomas: The West Frankish Kingdom (840-987)(Turnhout, 2012: USML 19), xx+661 pp. ISBN 978-2-503-53595-1.The plates from this publication are available online at:

Based upon a ‘performative’ interpretation of royal charters, The Politics of Memory and Identity offers a new and surprising narrative of West Frankish history from the death of Louis the Pious in 840 to the demise of the Carolingian dynasty in 987. The key is a carefully contextualised analysis of the circumstances in which kings issued charters and an alert examination of the charters’ verbal and visual semiotics. For which monasteries and cathedrals did kings issue diplomas and under what conditions? Who were the patrons who interceded for the recipients of diplomas and what titles were they given? Which kings were named as predecessors and which were omitted? Such clues allow us to recover the meaning of events whose significance was concealed by chroniclers, and to find unsuspected continuities in 150 years of West Frankish politics. They allow us to see a ruthless exercise of power in the use of forgeries and a commitment to political reform in the reform of monasteries. They reveal the long shadow cast by the reign of Charles the Bald in West Frankish history and the importance of a handful of monasteries as ‘sites of memory’. Above all, an intertextual reading of diplomas shows that political leaders in the kingdom made decisions based on policy, where the policy was articulated in terms of lessons drawn from their understanding of the past, and diplomas were the records that conveyed the lessons.



Part One: Instruments of Power

Chapter 1. Charters, Diplomas, and Performative Acts
Diplomatik and Urkundenforschung – Performative Acts – Diplomas as Performative Acts

Chapter 2. Accession Acts: Kings and Regimes Enter into Power
Becoming King – Charles the Bald at Toulouse (844) – Charles the Fat (885) – Odo (889) – Louis IV d’Outremer (936) – A Commitment to Kingship

Chapter 3. Succession Acts: Diplomas that Establish Legitimacy and Identity
Mimesis, Quotation, and Succession – Pippin II of Aquitaine (839) – Lothar II in Provence (863) – Charles the Bald in Lotharingia (869) – Louis II the Stammerer (877) – Establishing Succession

Chapter 4. The Diplomas of Charles the Bald: Politics and the Palace
Diplomas and the Narrative of Decline – The Early Diplomas (840-843) – Charles the Bald and his Loyalists (858-859) – Adalard, Vivian, and Tours (843-845): The High Politics of Diplomas – Charles and Erispoë (856) – The Low Politics of Diplomas: Ebroin and Glanfeuil – Ragamfrid’s Forgeries – Writing and the Reform Councils – Diplomas and the Selective Application of Reform – Diplomas and the Palatines (869-877)

Chapter 5. A Politics of Alliance: Diplomas after Charles the Bald
Towards a Politics of the Past – Trends and Transformations – A Kingship of Alliances – Alliance Acts – Charles the Simple and the Margraves – Raoul at Chalon (924) – Louis IV and the Vermandois Settlement (943) – Louis IV’s Restoration at Chevregny (946) – Louis IV, Artald, and Saint-Remi (940) – Lothar and Flanders – New Directions

Chapter 6. Allying the Saints: Diplomas and Monastic Reform
Amicitia and the Problem of Unity – Amicitia and Monastic Reform – Cluny and Déols – Acfred’s Revenge: Sauxillanges – The Pater et dux monachorum – Closing the Circle: The Pilgrimage of Louis d’Outremer (941-942) – Homblières – Diplomas, Monasteries, and the Kingdom

Chapter 7. Forged Acts: Frankish Truth and its Consequences
Understanding Forgery – Carolingian Truth: History – Carolingian Truth: Commemoration – Carolingian Truth: Oaths and Trials – Cartae falsae – The Forgeries of Adalgarius – The Le Mans Forgeries – Repudiating Boso – Humiliating Sint-Baafs – Testing triuwe –

Part Two: The Footsteps of Kings

Chapter 8. The Song of Robert of Neustria
Stories, Memories, and Diplomas – The Robertians in Historiography – The Background of the Revolt – Northmen and Margraves – Robert’s Saint-Denis – The ‘Deposition’ – The Diploma of 25 January 923

Chapter 9. The Passion of Charles the Simple
The Judgment of Soissons – The Simplicity of the Dove – Herbert and Hagano – Fulk and Adelaide – Dynastic Pride – Carolingian Destiny and Gelasian Majesty – Legitimacy – The Early Acts for Robert and Richard – The Resurrection of Reform – Lay Abbacies and Royal Prerogative after 911 – Monasteries and Memorialising – The Voice of Charles – The Last Diplomas

Chapter 10. Remembering Compiègne
Lieux de Mémoire – Carlopolis – Charles the Simple’s Politics of Memory – Revenge

Epilogue: Forgetting Compiègne