The Treaties of the Carolingians

The Treaties of the Carolingians

By Francois L. Ganshof

Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Proceedings of the Southeastern Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Vol. 3 (1967) 

Introduction: I intend to investigate how the Carolingians managed to conclude their treaties.  Let us first of all start with a definition.  I think we can give the word treaty the following one: an agreement between states, peoples, tribes, or rulers.

The treaties about which we will be concerned were concluded by the rulers of the Regnum Francorum, belonging to the Carolingian dynasty, between 751 and 887.  They were very numerous. To study them, we have but few immediate sources at our disposal: some full texts and a few fragments of agreements concluded between Carolingian rulers, after the death of Louis the Pious in 840, when the unity of the Frankish monarchy had ceased to exist. With the excpetion of these documents, we can only have recourse to narrative sources, especially the so-called Royal Annals, to the Annals of Saint-Bertin, the Annals of Fulda, the Annals of Xanten, the Annals of Saint-Vaast, and alos, in a lesser extent, the the Vita Karoli of Einhard and the biographies of Louis the Pious by Thegan and by the so-called ‘Astronomer’ as well as the Historiae of Nithard.  Such information as can be gathered from these narratives is occasionally inaccurate and often inexplicit.

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