Session Title

Twelve Angry Carolingians III: Being Angry

Sponsoring Organization(s)

SFB Visions of Community (VISCOM), FWF F42

Organizer Name

Rutger Kramer, Cullen Chandler

Organizer Affiliation

Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Lycoming College

Presider Name

Julie A. Hofmann

Presider Affiliation

Shenandoah Univ.

Paper Title 1

Heretical and Orthodox Emotions according to Claudius of Turin and Jonas of Orléans

Presenter 1 Name

Kelly Gibson

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. of Dallas

Paper Title 2

Upsetting Agobard’s Apple-Cart: Motivations for Writing the Adversum dogma Felicis

Presenter 2 Name

Cullen Chandler

Paper Title 3

False Hope and Real Fear in Nithard's Libri historiarum

Presenter 3 Name

Courtney M. Booker

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of British Columbia

Start Date

13-5-2017 3:30 PM

Session Location

Schneider 1145

Description

The Carolingian court was a place rife with competition, conflict, and controversy. More often than not, the struggle to remain at the top and stay close to the king's ear would be played out as a zero-sum game, in which one person's success depended on the failure of another. The individuals moving around the corridors of power thus knew that their position depended not only on their piety and intellectual prowess, but also on their ability to manipulate the thoughts and feelings of their peers – be it in order to garner support, to to elicit a certain reaction. Although the ensuing conflicts we are still able to study usually played out in the form of letters or against the background of a council, they were no less vicious for it – for all the rhetorical flourishes they employed, some courtiers still had actual anger issues.

This session, the third in a series on the practice of debate between politics and emotion in the Carolingian era (inspired by the 60th anniversary of Sidney Lumet's classic film 12 Angry Men), will focus on three such cases where anger appears to have played a role in an exchange between courtiers. First, Kelly Gibson will focus on the debate on icons in the writings of Claudius of Turin and Jonas of Orléans. Showing how their displeasure translates into accusations of anger and rage, this paper will shed light on emotional ideals and the significant role played by emotions to distinguish proper worship from potential heretics. Cullen Chandler will then shed light on Agobard of Lyon's motivations for writing a treatise against the heresy of Felix of Urgell, even though the latter had already died at that point. Highlighting several different factors for authoring the Adversum Dogma Felicis, such as Agobard's ongoing a concern for doctrinal correctness, this paper will also use Agobard's anger to speculate that the bishop may have felt betrayed by Felix, who was supposed to have given up Adoptionism but apparently continued to elaborate its positions – while being a guest in Lyon. Finally, Courtney Booker will close the proceedings by exploring the ways in which Nithard, lay warrior, historian, and grandson of Charlemagne, on the one hand fashions himself as a sober eye-witness, participant, and sole rational actor – an aspect that has long informed his reception as an especially reliable narrator – while on the other hand paints others in vivid, emotional, and thus irrational hues. Focusing on the guiding principles of hope and fear in Nithard’s text, this paper will trace how the author turned his work into a mordant, Sallustian reflection on the perils of selfishness, the futility of endeavors undertaken for its sake, and the divine retribution its prevalence had provoked.

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May 13th, 3:30 PM

Twelve Angry Carolingians III: Being Angry

Schneider 1145

The Carolingian court was a place rife with competition, conflict, and controversy. More often than not, the struggle to remain at the top and stay close to the king's ear would be played out as a zero-sum game, in which one person's success depended on the failure of another. The individuals moving around the corridors of power thus knew that their position depended not only on their piety and intellectual prowess, but also on their ability to manipulate the thoughts and feelings of their peers – be it in order to garner support, to to elicit a certain reaction. Although the ensuing conflicts we are still able to study usually played out in the form of letters or against the background of a council, they were no less vicious for it – for all the rhetorical flourishes they employed, some courtiers still had actual anger issues.

This session, the third in a series on the practice of debate between politics and emotion in the Carolingian era (inspired by the 60th anniversary of Sidney Lumet's classic film 12 Angry Men), will focus on three such cases where anger appears to have played a role in an exchange between courtiers. First, Kelly Gibson will focus on the debate on icons in the writings of Claudius of Turin and Jonas of Orléans. Showing how their displeasure translates into accusations of anger and rage, this paper will shed light on emotional ideals and the significant role played by emotions to distinguish proper worship from potential heretics. Cullen Chandler will then shed light on Agobard of Lyon's motivations for writing a treatise against the heresy of Felix of Urgell, even though the latter had already died at that point. Highlighting several different factors for authoring the Adversum Dogma Felicis, such as Agobard's ongoing a concern for doctrinal correctness, this paper will also use Agobard's anger to speculate that the bishop may have felt betrayed by Felix, who was supposed to have given up Adoptionism but apparently continued to elaborate its positions – while being a guest in Lyon. Finally, Courtney Booker will close the proceedings by exploring the ways in which Nithard, lay warrior, historian, and grandson of Charlemagne, on the one hand fashions himself as a sober eye-witness, participant, and sole rational actor – an aspect that has long informed his reception as an especially reliable narrator – while on the other hand paints others in vivid, emotional, and thus irrational hues. Focusing on the guiding principles of hope and fear in Nithard’s text, this paper will trace how the author turned his work into a mordant, Sallustian reflection on the perils of selfishness, the futility of endeavors undertaken for its sake, and the divine retribution its prevalence had provoked.