Emperor Of The World: Charlemagne and the Construction of Imperial Authority, 800-1229 by Anne A. LatowskyEmperor Of The World: Charlemagne and the Construction of Imperial Authority, 800-1229 by Anne A. Latowsky

Emperor Of The World: Charlemagne and the Construction of Imperial Authority, 800-1229

byAnne A. Latowsky

Hardcover | February 26, 2013

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Charlemagne never traveled farther east than Italy, but by the mid-tenth century a story had begun to circulate about the friendly alliances that the emperor had forged while visiting Jerusalem and Constantinople. This story gained wide currency throughout the Middle Ages, appearing frequently in chronicles, histories, imperial decrees, and hagiographies—even in stained-glass windows and vernacular verse and prose. In Emperor of the World, Anne A. Latowsky traces the curious history of this medieval myth, revealing how the memory of the Frankish Emperor was manipulated to shape the institutions of kingship and empire in the High Middle Ages.

The legend incorporates apocalyptic themes such as the succession of world monarchies at the End of Days and the prophecy of the Last Roman Emperor. Charlemagne's apocryphal journey to the East increasingly resembled the eschatological final journey of the Last Emperor, who was expected to end his reign in Jerusalem after reuniting the Roman Empire prior to the Last Judgment. Instead of relinquishing his imperial dignity and handing the rule of a united Christendom over to God as predicted, this Charlemagne returns to the West to commence his reign. Latowsky finds that the writers who incorporated this legend did so to support, or in certain cases to criticize, the imperial pretentions of the regimes under which they wrote. New versions of the myth would resurface at times of transition and during periods marked by strong assertions of Roman-style imperial authority and conflict with the papacy, most notably during the reigns of Henry IV and Frederick Barbarossa. Latowsky removes Charlemagne's encounters with the East from their long-presumed Crusading context and shows how a story that began as a rhetorical commonplace of imperial praise evolved over the centuries as an expression of Christian Roman universalism.

Anne A. Latowsky is Associate Professor in the Department of World Languages at the University of South Florida.
Title:Emperor Of The World: Charlemagne and the Construction of Imperial Authority, 800-1229Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:February 26, 2013Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801451485

ISBN - 13:9780801451485

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Table of Contents

1. Carolingian Origins
2. Relics from the East
3. Benzo of Alba's Parallel Signs
4. In Praise of Frederick Barbarossa
5. The Emperor's Charlemagne
6. "Charlemagne and the East" in France
Epilogue: The Remains of Charlemagne


Editorial Reviews

"Emperor of the World is a terrific book. Anne A. Latowsky unravels three separate threads of argument that spin from the foreign embassy motif, the Last Emperor idea, and Roman universalism. Each of these has received attention in the past, but absolutely no one has taken them up simultaneously as complementary components of a single discourse that extended over more than four centuries."—Thomas F. X. Noble, University of Notre Dame, author of Images, Iconoclasm, and the Carolingians