In this project, which was developed within the framework of the “Transformation of the Carolingian World”-network, we would like to explore the cultural history of the Carolingian and post-Carolingian world. The Carolingian reforms of language, script and education before and after 800 have been studied intensively as an important period for the formation of the social, political and cultural horizons of Latin Europe in the Middle Ages. This is, however, much less true for the period after the first two Carolingian emperors from the mid-ninth century to the beginning of the twelfth which is still often regarded as a time of cultural decline, political fragmentation: a new Dark Age after the short ‘renaissance’ of learning, education and cultivation of knowledge in the time of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious (768 – 840 CE).

It is, however, precisely this later and post-Carolingian period after the 840s, from which the main bulk of the manuscripts attesting to and reinforcing the intensified efforts to establish new standards in Latin Europe have come down to us. What we observe is not only a new cultural base line in the Carolingian world, but also new standards to organize knowledge in books and libraries and the formation of a cultural convergence that held together the increasingly diverse and politically fragmented world of Latin Europe.

The project intends to use the writing and rewriting of history as a window into this process. We want to explore if, and if so, how new approaches to the codification of knowledge changed the conceptualization of history, its generic boundaries, meaning and its place in (real or imagined) libraries. While we expect to find and explore a wide spectrum of possibilities, we also aim at sounding out the limits of these possibilities by a comparative approach between different regions, places, cultural backgrounds, and textual traditions.

The project has started with series of seminars at which members of this group will present their approaches, ongoing work, or future projects. This should help us to establish a common base line, and develop a more focused project design and a shared data-base for a more comprehensive comparison of different texts, contexts and trajectories, various cultural topographies and degrees of convergence in the late and post-Carolingian world – from the Atlantic, to Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean world.


Histories in Transition – Online Seminars

May 22, 2020
Frederic Clark, University of Southern California
Critique and Book History: An Agenda for the History of Scholarship from the Medieval Manuscript Codex to Early Modern Print

June 5, 2020
Matthias M. Tischler, ICREA/Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Mapping the Early Medieval Landscape of Histories between Aquitaine, Southern Gaul and the Northern Iberian Peninsula: Some Hypotheses on the Role and Impact of Carolingian Historiography in Southwestern Europe

June 19, 2020
Steffen Patzold, Universität Tübingen
Writing and Using History in 10th- and 11th-Century Bavaria: The Case of Freising

July 3, 2020
Patrick S. Marschner, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
The World Map of the Corpus Pelagianum (BNE, Ms. 1513, fol. 1v.) and its Strategies of Identification

October 5, 2020
Helmut Reimitz, Princeton University
History Books, the History of the Book and the History of History in the Carolingian and Post-Carolingian World  

November 23, 2020
Jo Story, Leicester University
Frankish History in Twelfth-century Durham: Symeon and the Manuscript Evidence

December 9, 2020  
Maximilian Diesenberger, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Histories in Transition: Salzburg and Admont

January 18, 2021
Charlotte Denoël, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris
Image and Text in Ademar of Chabannes’ Notebook Leiden VLO 15

March 29, 2021
Eric J. Goldberg, Massachussets Institute of Technology
Eyewitness to the End of Empire: Author, Argument, and Audience of the ‘Annals of Saint-Vaast’

Projektleitung Wien:
Maximilian Diesenberger