Roland Black

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Medieval Studies

First Advisor

Dr. E. Rozanne Elder

Second Advisor

Dr. John Wickstrom

Third Advisor

Dr. Rand Johnson


Carolingian, Smaragdus of St. Mihiel, Via regia, Mirrors for Princes, Charlemagne

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Around 813 CE, the Carolingian monk Smaragdus of St. Mihiel produced the first medieval moral guidebook for a king, entitled the Via regia. The text was most likely intended for Charlemagne’s sole surviving heir, Louis the Pious. Smaragdus incorporated passages from both the Old and New Testaments and provided exegesis meant to guide the king in correct moral behavior. The text asserted the critical importance of the king’s correct moral behavior, and offered a window into the Carolingian court as well as political and religious life at the turn of the ninth century. Presented here for the first time is a critically edited text of Smaragdus’s Latin work drawn from its four surviving witnesses, along with a critical apparatus recording all textual variants, and a biblical apparatus recording the loci for each biblical citation designated in the text by Smaragdus. The introduction lays out editorial methods and offers a limited historical analysis of the significance, cultural context, and later medieval transmission of this text.