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The Good, the Bad or the Unworthy? Accusations, Defense and Representation in the Case of Ebbo of Reims, 835-882

The Good, the Bad or the Unworthy? Accusations, Defense and Representation in the Case of Ebbo of Reims, 835-882

By Bart Selten

Master thesis, University of Utrecht, 2010

Abstract: In the first part of this thesis is examined in which ways several of Ebbo of Reims’ contemporary antagonists tried to turn him into the main responsible for the trial against Louis the Pious (833). The focus is at first on the period between Ebbo’s deposition in 835 and his return to Reims in 840. Thereafter, the central issue is the debate between Hincmar and Ebbo’s allies after Ebbo’s death. In the second part of this thesis, the focus is on Ebbo’s defense; both his own through his Liber Apologeticus, and the support he gained from others.

Introduction: In 877, a man fell ill. His name was Bernold, and he was a parishioner in the see of Reims. Bernold received the rites of the dying, did not eat for four days and he was so weak that when he wanted to drink, he could not ask for water. Only through gestures he could make clear what his needs were. After these four days, Bernold lost consciousness, and the bystanders thought that he was dead already. His chest, however, was still moving by his ongoing breath, and his face did not turn pale yet. In the middle of the night, Bernold opened his eyes and asked for a priest. His wife went out to look for one, and quickly came back with the father she had found. Bernold asked the priest to take a chair and sit down next to him. Then, he told him to listen carefully and remember what he was about to say. Finally, he made the priest promise to tell everybody the words he spoke that night.

Bernold told the priest that in his sleep, he had been transported to another world. When he arrived there, he came to a strange place, where he saw a terrible scene: fortyone bishops were crawling around and although the extreme cold made their teeth chatter, the bishops looked like they had been burned by fire. Three of the bishops Bernold recognized: Aeneas, Pardulus and Ebbo. When Ebbo noticed Bernold’s appearance, he tried to reach him, cried out his name and begged Bernold to help him. When Bernold asked what he could do, Ebbo answered him that he should look for all the bishop’s people, both the clergy and the laymen, and tell them that they should give alms and pray extensively on the behalf of the poor bishops, who were torn between ice and fire there

Click here to read this thesis from the University of Utrecht

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