History and Politics in Late Carolingian and Ottonian Europe

The Chronicle of Regino of Prüm and Adalbert of Magdeburg
MacLean, Simon
Date published: 
February 2009

Abbot Regino of Pr¨m (d.915) was the last great historian of the Carolingian Empire, which spanned around a million square kilometres of continental western Europe during the eighth and ninth centuries. His Chronicle is the essential account of the empire's collapse, while its brief continuation by Adalbert, archbishop of Magdeburg, is one of the key accounts of the rise to power of the Ottonians, the first great German dynasty.  Both texts are here translated into English for the first time. Regino and Adalbert offer detailed and carefully-crafted accounts of ancient and recent history which open unique windows onto a crucial period in the formation of medieval Europe.  They reveal a world pounded by marauding Vikings, Magyars and Bretons, in which the prurient speculation surrounding a royal divorce could provoke widespread political crisis, and where aristocrats prosecuted vicious feuds in which men were murdered on the toilet and abbots (like Regino) were forced from their monasteries.  Yet at the same time these authors' patterns of thought and manifest scholarship testify to the great political and cultural sophistication of the early medieval elite. Regino's lively and anecdotal style will appeal to a variety of audiences, and this book is aimed at professional researchers, non-specialists and undergraduates alike.  A substantial introduction provides both basic orientation and an original scholarly interpretation of the text, while readers are helped along by a detailed footnote commentary.  Alongside other Carolingian texts translated in this series, the book will open up the later ninth and earlier tenth centuries to undergraduates and others engaged in the study of this increasingly popular period.