Benedict of Aniane, Adalhard of Corbie, and the Perils of Contentio

© 2021 by Rutger Kramer. All intellectual property rights reserved. This edition copyright © 2021 by The Heroic Age.

Permissions granted for educational and personal purposes only.

Abstract: In the Carolingian era, monasteries were treated as isolated havens of tranquility. The texts associated with the monastic reforms propagated by the Carolingian court usually also represented them as such, in order to highlight the harmony and community they stood for. However, underneath the surface, debates and conflicts about the proper way of life would continuously take place—and sometimes these boiled over into the public sphere as well. Starting from a single instance of such a public contentio (between Benedict of Aniane and Adalhard of Corbie), this article analyses how and why this could happen, and especially also what could make author decide to record the existence of such conflicts for later generations: as a warning, but also as a way of teaching that the perfect (monastic) life is in constant need of updates.

Hence, when a man does not serve God, what justice can we ascribe to him, since in this case his soul cannot exercise a just control over the body, nor his reason over his vices? And if there is no justice in such an individual, certainly there can be none in a community composed of such persons (Augustine De Civitate Dei 19.21).

§1. When Augustine wrote these words in his De Civitate Dei in the early fifth century, he had in mind the unity and community of the fledgling Christian Empire as it went through one of the many existential crises that plagued the early Church (Clark 2018). In subsequent centuries, however, the thoughts expressed here grew into a blueprint for communal life at every scale (Contreni 1999; Leyser 2012). So it was that by the time the Carolingian dynasty had re-established their empire in the West in the course of the eighth and ninth centuries, Augustine's ideas would be applied to anything from the big imperial ecclesia to the smaller monastic or canonical face-to-face communities that held together the intellectual and religious fabric of the empire (De Jong 2003; Close 2018; Moesch 2020). The point he makes is simple, even if the ramifications are complex: the idea that love, justice and self-control are ultimately what holds a community together—but also, that that ideal could not actually be reached in this life, and is the prerogative of those living in the Heavenly Jerusalem (Kent 2001; Schlosser 2017). Reaching the City of God, in turn, was only possible to those who continuously strove to meet the obligations that came with living on earth, among other people (Esposito 2010, 4–7). And that, in turn, meant that sometimes, conflicts and disagreements rear their ugly heads.

§2. In this article, I will take a closer look at how, in the Carolingian era, the inevitability of such interpersonal conflicts was treated, and how it would be used to educate individuals and thereby actually strengthen a given community. Starting from a bird's-eye view of the mentalities that controlled the social, political, and emotional discourse at the time, I will zoom in on a single historical instance of contentio—a hostile debate—. This particular contentio supposedly took place between two leading court intellectuals, Benedict of Aniane and Adalhard of Corbie, at a council in Aachen in the early ninth century. Looking at the context of this conflict, I will propose that the reason we know about this incident at all has less to do with the subject of the debate or the enmity between the main players in the conflict, and more with the fact that the people to whom we owe the account wanted to seize this debate to teach their audience a thing or two about living together in a (religious) community.

Emotions, Mentalities, Discourses

§3. If the plethora of sources dealing with the improvement of all matters ecclesiastical are to be believed, the first decades of the ninth century were optimistic times indeed for members of the Carolingian elite (Kramer 2019, 19–27). Ostensibly starting in the early 780s with the Epistola de litteris colendis and its more famous counterpart, the Admonitio Generalis of 789, but especially in the wake of Charlemagne's coronation on that fateful Christmas morning in 800, the court was buzzing with activities, organizing councils, writing moral treatises, putting out capitularies, and generally trying to ensure that the ecclesia was in the best possible shape (De Jong 2009a; Contreni 1995; Nelson 2016; Geuenich 1998).1 To a large extent, this was a matter of control, of course: by ensuring the Frankish Church and the Carolingian Empire were in order, the people living there would be allowed to keep Heaven on their minds—while those setting the agenda would remain on top of things. However, the reforming zeal of the Carolingian elites was also aimed at improving the afterlives of the people under their responsibility: if the Church functioned properly, the correct faith of the flock of baptized believers would be more or less assured as well—and that would ensure they remained on the straight and narrow pathway to Heaven (Palmer 2014, 130–188; Phelan 2014, 207–277). There was, in short, an eschatological anxiety underpinning these courtly activities. It was of paramount importance to get everything right the first time around, and to make sure that the "Carolingian experiment" could continue without losing its momentum (Wickham 2016, 61–79).

§4. Nevertheless, as much as the sources, aided by the power of hindsight and the backing of the court, present us with a singular and ambitious view of the developments within the Carolingian Church during the reigns of Charlemagne (r. 768–814) and Louis the Pious (r. 814–840), they also show us a world in which debate, not meaningless consensus, was a prime catalyst for progression (Nelson 2009; De Jong and Van Renswoude 2017). As much as correctio, reform, and other measures for "the usefulness of the Church" were presented as unanimous decisions, the fact that these were the products of debates, discussions and deliberations was never really hidden, either (Laeuchli 1972, 9; Noble 2009, 244–365). Sometimes the debates were planned and deliberate: a series of centrally organized councils in 813, for instance, allow us a glimpse of how a group conversation was conceived across various regions, while also showing what it meant that the results (the written acts) of these councils were seen as statements in an ongoing dialogue between the court and communities operating on a local level (Scholz 2018; Kramer 2019, 59–122). At other times, they could be vicious, such as during the controversy surrounding Spanish Adoptionism, when Iberian bishops were accused of misrepresenting the nature of Christ and the Trinity and the Frankish and Italian bishops claiming to stand for orthodoxy accused them of heresy. In addition to the theological debate and political wrangling in the background, both sides also spent time and effort accusing each other of making mala fide arguments (Chandler 2002; Kramer 2016a). Sometimes things got personal, as when the high-ranking courtiers Alcuin of Tours and Theodulf of Orléans butted heads over the treatment of a fugitive cleric in 802 (Meens 2007; Kramer 2017); sometimes potential conflicts were treated as if they were business as usual, like in the early 820s when abbot Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel and bishop Frotharius of Toul sent a group of disgruntled monks from Moyenmoutier to Aachen to plead their case in front of the emperor (Frotharius Epistola 3). Sometimes conflicts arose over matters of prestige and authority, as witnessed through the poetry written by fledgling courtiers eager to make a name for themselves (Tignolet 2012; Godman 1987, 182–186). But conversely, insecurity about the health of the Church and the Empire was also a cause for debate, which could even affect the position of the ruler, and cause people to re-assess their position vis à vis power and authority. This happened, most famously, during the penance and deposition of Louis the Pious, orchestrated by a collective of Frankish bishops at Compiègne in 833 (De Jong 2009b; Booker 2009).

§5. As much as these, and many other, cases show how the Carolingian court was a dynamic place prone to crisis and competition, however, it is important to note two things about the sources through which we learn of these conflicts. First, the Carolingian system of government itself was never under attack: when the stakes got high enough, the supremacy of the court as a collective of leading figures would be accepted, even if the court itself would occasionally be split on certain issues. Second, as much as the dynamics at the highest level betray a heightened emotional atmosphere among the participants, in the sources, emotions per se are usually portrayed as being under control, if not wholly absent (Innes 2002). And given that these high-level arguments tended to be about the fate of the empire as a whole, it behooved the participants never to lose sight of the greater good. After all, to give in to emotions was to automatically lose the argument (Van Renswoude 2019). It showed that the interlocutors were not in full control of their intellectual capacities, rendering their entire argument invalid. Moreover, such displays of emotions showed that the argument had gotten personal, meaning that their goals were more about "winning" and less about furthering the greater good. It was a good strategy for a ruler to show anger when establishing authority (McGrath 2010). It was a sign of weakness during an engagement with one's intellectual equals.

§6. This preoccupation with emotional self-control mostly pertained to expressions of anger. Individual or collective joy would more often than not be presented as a good thing, although even there, uncontrolled mirth could be construed as a cause for concern (Tronca 2016). Anger, however, especially unchecked anger, could be a destructive force that would threaten the fabric of a community—and the greater the anger, the greater the risk to the empire as a whole (Althoff 1998). The Carolingian vision of the interplay between control, debate, and anger became a matter of discussion in and of itself as well. This, in turn, skews the way this interplay is presented in the extant sources. The very choice to retain depictions of anger, conflict, or people losing emotional control during an argument in a text therefore became a political statement, a lesson for future generations, or even a reflection of the way the author envisaged their potential readers, as a community eager to learn from the mistakes of the past (Rosenwein 2006, 1–31).

§7. Leading intellectuals at the center of the Frankish Empire gave a lot of thought to anger issues, and its influence on politics. In this, they were, as always, heavily influenced by the guidance found in the writings of the Church Fathers. As Augustine already recognized, for instance, "anger" was not always a damaging force, as its memory could drive people to correct sins in themselves and others (Byers 2013, 162–165; Gillette 2010, 73–108). To Gregory the Great, emotions could be dangerous to the soul only to the extent that they caused imbalances within the body that could lead to sinful behavior (Straw 1988, 188). This type of thinking was taken up by such luminaries as the Northumbrian deacon Alcuin and the Visigothic abbot Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel, both of whom rose to positions of considerable influence at the courts of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, respectively, and both of whom reiterated that anger was a threat to stability and humility—and mutatis mutandis, to the community of the faithful and the souls of individuals (Bührer-Thierry 1998, 75–76). Careful consideration of circumstances should guide one's behavior, Smaragdus writes in his Diadema Monachorum, a moral treatise expounding the perfect contemplative life. Capricious people who "in the frying pan of their mind are tormented by their own fire" should not be trusted or followed (Smaragdus Diadema Monachorum 97, 42).2

§8. This emphasis on context shows that, to the intellectual elite of the Carolingian era, competition was no hindrance to consensus. Debates were part and parcel of courtly life, and it was recognized that these should be bound by norms and rules in order to ever reach a compromise upon which empires could be built. This was the arena where disagreements would be resolved publicly and for the greater good—and, as Janet Nelson put it, "If pre-planning suggests a certain artificiality in the staging of consensus, this was something of which all participants were conscious and in which they colluded" (2009, 70). The planning of debates and deliberations was, in fact, crucial. Ordines for the organization of councils show how they took place in a liturgically defined "safe space," where controversies might take place between the opening prayer and the final blessing, after which discordia should be laid to rest upon the archbishop's final blessing lest lingering iracundia were allowed to fester and threaten the fabric of the ecclesia (Kramer 2017). Similarly, Chapter 13 of the Regula Benedicti stipulates that at the end of the offices of Lauds and Vespers, the Lord's Prayer should be said out loud, "on account of the thorns of scandal (spina scandalorum) that are wont to arise, that those present may purge themselves of evil of this sort" (Choy 2017, 88–94).

§9. Behind the unanimity portrayed so often in descriptions of councils after the fact, behind the idea that God resided in the tranquility of the participants in the liturgy, lurked the very pragmatic realization that discussions could occasionally lead to anger, with predictable results. But mostly, it was simply a matter of politics. To the Carolingians, the danger was not in anger, but in ongoing contentiones.

A Contentio for the Ages

§10. One notable instance of contentio that sullied the Carolingian court concerns the supposed enmity between the abbots Adalhard of Corbie and Benedict of Aniane. It is a curious case. Only scant contemporary evidence exists for the rivalry between these two, but it has nonetheless fueled the imagination of many subsequent historians. This is partially due to the notoriety of the protagonists, and partially because, as we shall see, it is actually quite notable that evidence of their altercation is extant at all. This has led to many assumptions and extrapolations about Benedict and Adalhard as individuals. The goal of this article, however, is to take the micro-historical "clue" provided by the contemporary evidence, and use the fact that it was recorded to draw a broader conclusion about the way Carolingian debating culture assessed the perils of contentio and the lessons that may be learned when competitions escalate (Ginzburg 1989).

§11. The basis for any observation on these two Carolingian courtly saints comes from their two near-contemporary hagiographies. First, there is the Vita Benedicti Anianensis, written by Ardo, which presents an idealized narrative of Benedict's influence at the imperial court of Louis the Pious (Kramer 2019, 169–214; Kettemann 2000; Kettemann 2016; Bonnerue 2001). Second, there is the Vita Adalhardi, written by Paschasius Radbertus, in which the protagonist, Adalhard, a cousin of Charlemagne, is portrayed as being almost constantly at loggerheads with the powers that be—only to emerge stronger in the end (Kasten 1986; De Jong 2019). Both vitae take shots at the corruption at the court, and both present withdrawal from politics as (almost) a conditio sine qua non for spiritual fulfillment. Whereas Paschasius presents Adalhard's self-imposed exile as his only viable option, however, Ardo shows how Benedict's beneficial influence and acceptance of courtly authority actually helped improve the empire in the end (Kramer 2014). Neither author directly alludes to an immediate conflict within the court, though. Instead, they stick to general comments on the difficulties of life at the highest level. Taking examples from both vitae, we read how "the truth suffered violence through the usual craftiness of wicked men" (Paschasius Vita Adalhardi 30.1), for example, or how the "opponent of innocence and enemy of peace [i.e the Devil] (...) armed with the javelins of envy" (Ardo Vita Benedicti 29) set the clerics, soldiers and counts of the palace against the saints. They, of course, managed to shoulder their responsibilities regardless of this hostile environment. The fact that both authors take pains to avoid making anything personal may have more to do with how they want to place their heroes above the fray than how they want to explain their position in it.

§12. Highly idealized though they may be, these two vitae do reflect the reality that Benedict became a part of the Carolingian court only upon Louis's ascent to the imperial throne in 814, whereas Adalhard was sent into exile in that very year—and only recovered his position in 821, the year of Benedict's death (Depreux 1997, 76–79, 123–129). And this observation, combined with a final piece of evidence, leads to the common assumption that these two men were enemies, neither of whom could be at court while the other's presence lingered (Kasten 1986, 91–111; Semmler 1963, 76–81; Ganz 1990, 23–26 & 55).

§13. At first glance, this final piece of evidence is pretty damning indeed. It concerns a brief remark in the so-called Basilius-Recension of the mid-ninth-century Commentarium by the monk Hildemar of Corbie, a commentary on the Regula Benedicti from the perspective of someone who had to deal with the practical implications of the reform measures as they were formulated at court (De Jong 1983).3 Hildemar's Commentarium itself shows how debates about monastic life did not always end when the councils were finished: his work bears marks of his upbringing at Corbie under the tutelage of Adalhard, and among other things shows how he incorporated local liturgical traditions he found at Civate, the community for which the text was intended (Zelzer 1981; Zelzer 1989). The multi-faceted nature of Carolingian monasticism may also be seen in the fact that Hildemar's ideas differ from the equally idiosyncratic Expositio by Smaragdus, written slightly earlier for similarly pragmatic purposes (Ponesse 2006).

§14. The remark in question occurs in a chapter where Hildemar comments on the process of the conversio morum of novices and explains its significance as a life-altering event (De Jong 1998). This affected the tonsure as well: symbolizing a martyr's crown, tonsuring was an outward and visible reminder of one's piety which thus signaled one's inner conversio from the outside world. This explains Hildemar's preference for an early tonsure: it makes the novice more aware of his status. But Hildemar admits that the last word has not been said on this matter: "One also needs to know that there are wise men [sapientes] who discuss and question [disputant et inquirunt] in different ways the tonsure of the novice," he writes, explaining that some experts see the tonsure as a confirmation of the conversion rather than the start of the process (Hildemar Commentarium 58). He goes no further here, and keeps quiet about who these experts might be.

§15. Interestingly, the so-called Basilius-Recension, composed roughly around the same time, does identify the angry men. "About this," this version says, "a contentio was held between Adalhard and the abbot Benedict" [quod contentio fuit inter Adalardum et Benedictum], before explaining the points-of-view of both abbots whose identities have been obscured in the more prevalent version (Basilius-Recension 140). Supposedly referring to a debate held in 802, it is this contentio that could have been the cause of their lasting enmity (Semmler 1963, 48–49).

§16. Immediately striking when comparing the two versions, is the switch from disputare and inquirere in Hildemar's version, to contentio in the Basilius-Recension. Hildemar's vocabulary reflects the acceptable discourse of debate: disputatio refers to deliberations needed to reach a consensual decision; inquisitio implies open questions and a willingness to further pursue an adequate solution (Teeuwen 2003, 256–259; Niermeyer 1976, 541–542). Contentio, on the other hand, signifies an insurmountable difference of opinion, amounting to a dispute in front of witnesses (Niermeyer 1976, 263). Its use indicates that this point of contention lingered long after the deliberations had ended. This was an instance of the discordans contentio decried in conciliar ordines—the type of dispute that could tear asunder the integrity of a community.

Discordant Voices, Harmonious Communities

§17. It is worth pursuing the meanings given to contentio within a monastic framework built around the Regula Benedicti itself and its reception in the early ninth century (Diem 2016; Diem 2011; Semmler 1983).

§18. The Regula Benedicti, that sixth-century monastic rule that came to occupy the foremost position in Carolingian monastic thinking, refers to contentio three times. One instance occurs in chapter 4, on the "Instruments of Good Works" (Regula Benedicti 4.68). There, it is simply stated that one of said instruments is "Do not love conflict" [contentionem non amare]. The phenomenon of contentio, to Benedict, was a threat to the community. The willingness to engage in such discordant behavior, was moreover a threat to the soul. The other two mentions of contentio, in cc. 3 and 71, refer to the need to keep the community free from conflict. In chapter 71, on the need to obey one another within a monastery, the rule says that monks who are "contentious" (contentiosus) ought to be "corrected" (corripiatur), especially when junior monks protest the commands of their seniors. Chapter 3 is similarly concerned with obedience, this time in the context of the council of the brethren. Between establishing that the Regula itself should be the final arbiter in any type of conflict, Benedict writes "Let no one in the monastery follow the bent of his own heart, and let no one dare to dispute (contendere) insolently with their Abbot, either inside or outside the monastery" (Regula Benedicti 13). In both cases, contentio is thus used to designate looming conflicts arising from a lack of obedience—something that would have spoken to these monks, given that the avoidance of disobedience was one of the foundations of Benedictine life—and specifically something that might afflict junior members of the community.

§19. Carolingian commentators would elaborate on these observations. Sometimes this would be relatively straightforward. For instance, in an early ninth-century collection of glosses on the Regula Benedicti edited as the Glosae in Regula Sancti Benedicti Abbatis, the use of contentio in c. 4 is glossed as "that is, controversy, obstinacy or dispute" [id est, controuersiam, pertinatiam uel disceptationem]—drawing attention to the fact that the concept refers to a debate that leads to conflict due to the needless persistence of those involved.4 The Florilegium attached to the Glosae further explains, in the course of four biblical citations, that contentio is, at its core, a human failing: a point made most clearly by the first quote, from 1 Cor 3:3: "For, insofar as there is among you envying and contention, are you not carnal (carniles), and walk according to human (carnem) standards?" (Glosae 159).5 The three subsequent verses, taken from 2 Cor 20, 2 Tim 2:14 and Prov 20:3, further drive home the point that contention leads to inhospitality, disharmony, and ultimately to the corruption of the community and the individual. "Contend not in words," the compiler of the Glosae quotes Paul approvingly, "for it is to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers," before finishing with the Proverb that "It is an honor for a man to separate himself from quarrels".

§20. Matthieu van der Meer, in his edition of the Glosae, has demonstrated that this compilation was a major source for Smaragdus's Expositio (xli–liv). This is visible in the abbot's treatment of contentio as well. In the Expositio, contentio is connected to murmuratio, which in turn is characterized as being unjust complaints against authority figures, teachers, and the community in general (Booker 2016). Whereas "not [being] a murmurer" is of the "Instruments of good Works" outlined in Chapter 4 of the Regula Benedicti, spreading rumors and gossip becomes the sign of a "disobedient and contentious spirit" (Smaragdus Expositio 4.39). Indeed, disobedience itself may be a consequence of contentiousness and therefore an indication that the fear of Christ required to be a proper monk is lacking. Most importantly, however, Smaragdus echoes the glossator's concerns that contentio is as harmful to the community as it is to the speakers (Smaragdus Expositio 4.68).6 Whenever such a "violent disturbance" would "come into the open," it poses a danger to the hearers and onlookers alike. Following a quotation of 1 Cor 3:3—the same verse seen in the Glosae, drawing attention to the "carnal" nature of contentio and the idea that such strife tends to come from a desire to pursue earthly goals—Smaragdus continues:

For through useless contention [contentiones … inutiles], anger is roused, discord is generated between brothers, animosities are nurtured, strife makes progress, dissensions are brought into being, envy emerges, scandals are stirred up, and to put it briefly, every sort of evil is produced among the brothers (Smaragdus Expositio 4.68).

In short, it is the kind of "quarrelsome discussion" that subverts the "fraternal love" which binds a community together. This sentiment is also visible in his commentary to Chapter 13 of the Regula Benedicti: the "thorns of scandal" (mentioned above), he writes, are in fact those "angry outbursts, quarrels, dissensions, slanders, rivalries, or any of the disturbing disputes and commotions that are wont to spring up among the brothers." Only by "purging" themselves of these emotions can they maintain "continual charity among themselves".

§21. The most dangerous contentions, however, always have a public nature: in a brief digression on the counsel that all the brethren are allowed to give to the abbot, Smaragdus paints a picture similar to that seen in the conciliar ordines alluded to earlier. During such meetings, under the supervision of the abbot within the confines of the chapter house [intus], friendly contention [contentio amica] would be permitted (Smaragdus Expositio 3.9). Only if this contentio persisted on the outside [foris] would it be cause for disciplinary measures—which should also take place in public, so as to serve a positive exemplary purpose.

§22. Hildemar's commentary takes a similar approach. Contentio is not necessarily a problem as long as one of the two parties chooses to yield, an action which might ruin the worldly reputation of one of the parties, but not the chances for salvation. Only those who actively "love contentio" [multi qui amant contentionem] and thus "cannot let it go" are in any real danger (Hildemar Commentarium 4.68). Later on, commenting on abbatial elections, the abbot draws upon Gregory the Great's Homilies on Ezekiel and this church father's interpretation of Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians to make the point that divided loyalties stemming from an exaggerated attachment to any individual teacher (rather than Christ, faith, and the Rule) may become a cause of contentio within an otherwise healthy community (Hildemar Commentarium 64.19–20). Such attachments might in turn lead to and be formed by conflicts, seeing as they force onlookers to feel they must choose a side—leading to smaller groups within a nominally unified community. While it is thus up to members of a given community to nip any form of contentio in the bud, each individual also bears responsibility to make their own convictions subservient to the needs of the group (Urbanus 2016).

§23. Finally, in the Concordia Regularum, the massive compilation of monastic rules by Benedict of Aniane that doubles as a commentary on what he deemed to be the Rule best suited for the Carolingian monastic experience, contentio becomes part of the comments on the complex nature of communal life already made by his sixth-century namesake (De Vogüé 2006). Starting from the description of the circumstances surrounding excommunication in the Regula Benedicti, Benedict of Aniane draws attention to the place of the individual within a community by combining the Regula Benedicti with key insights from earlier rules. This is in accordance with the idea behind the Concordia Regularum, that it should function as a sort of meta-commentary on monastic multiplicity: even if the texts appear to disagree on the surface, there is an inherent harmony underpinning all of them—a monastic ideal that supersedes the wishes of any individual text.

§24. An interesting illustration of this idea occurs in Chapter 54 of the Concordia Regularum, where Benedict cites an excerpt from the sixth-century Rule of Saints Stephen and Paul on the Divine Office (Dyer 1989). The text prescribes that the psalms should be sung "as if from a single mouth"—something that becomes impossible when the monks do not start on time, or if they are hindered by "a certain self-willed dissension" [quodammodo contentiosa varietate].7 Contention, it is strongly implied, hampers the "power of prayer" harnessed by the monks, and could therefore threaten the ecclesia as a whole (De Jong 1995).

§25. In the Regula Benedicti, it is stipulated that if a monk is "obstinate, disobedient, proud, murmuring, acting against the Rule, or contemptuous of the orders of his seniors," he is to be admonished twice in secret, then a third time in public. Only if no improvement is shown afterwards, excommunication should follow—albeit "under the condition that he understands the seriousness of that penalty" (Regula Benedicti 23). Here already, mutual understanding is a conditio sine qua non for such harsh measures: if the monk in question is "morally unsound," corporal punishment is prescribed instead (McComb 2017, 89–155). Benedict of Aniane juxtaposes this chapter with excerpts from the rules of, among others, Pachomius, Isidore, Caesarius, Columbanus, and also the Rule of Basil—which, it should be noted, is not to be confused with the Basilius-Recension of Hildemar's commentary (Benedict of Aniane Concordia Regularum 30.9–11). The passages chosen from Basil take a similar approach to excommunication, but add the key concept of contentio. They thus begin with some general observations on sinful behavior that might lead to breaks within the community before adding that for repeat offenders, a root cause should be sought and remedied. Focusing on contentio, the text then implies that this might be a mere sin if occurring in isolation, but that it is a symptom of even more dangerous vices—such as envy or jealousy—if it often recurs or is not cured through penance (Regula Basilii 22). By including this insightful addition, Benedict, ever the teacher, shows that he, for one, knows that one kind of argument is not like another (Claussen 2013). Depending on the context, disagreement in itself need not be an unsolvable problem: even as a composition, the text of the Concordia Regularum itself proves that very point by finding the harmony inherent in the disparate rules of western monasticism.

The Perils of Contentio

§26. Having taken a closer look at the meanings of contentio for ninth-century monastic intellectual elites, the remark about Benedict and Adalhard in the Basilius-Recension of Hildemar's Commentarium may be better understood when set against the light of these further monastic commentaries. This in turn may help us better understand how the perceived enmity between these monastic heavyweights affected the court community in the early ninth century. After all, it is exceptional that we know about this conflict in the first place, given the propensity of Carolingian elites to smooth over such disagreements if they had the chance. Whoever was responsible for the Basilius-Recension left the reference to the contentio in the text for a purpose. It stands to reason that that purpose was educational, for two interconnected reasons. Firstly, it reflected on the role of individual actors within the debates ongoing within the court community. Secondly, it highlighted the fact that debates were—and should be—possible, especially when they concerned issues fundamental to being a member of the monastic order: showing that even the best and brightest were involved in a contentio over this issue demonstrated that the readers of the commentary would be allowed to make up their own minds about it.

§27. Regarding the first reason, the naming and shaming of both actors is significant. It indicates that their disagreement did not stay confined to the proper venue, but had boiled over into the public sphere. Mentioning it thus inadvertently sheds light on the way the relation between these two influential figures was perceived at the time. For instance, it might be significant that the Basilius-Recension of Hildemar's Commentarium appears to take Adalhard's side in the argument, but nevertheless describes Benedict as an abbot—perhaps even to draw attention to the fact that Benedict, with his greater public profile as an exemplary abbot, should have known better than to allow their debate to be made public.

§28. It is important to bear in mind that contentio is always more than the sum of its parts. While a disobedient spirit or a resentful mind might lead one to become contentious, a public outbreak is usually seen as dysfunctional behavior within a (monastic) community, involving multiple persons (Raaijmakers 2012, 99–131; Semmler 1958; Erhart 2006). In other words, it goes too far to assume that these were the only two personalities involved, or to extrapolate from this one remark that it was Benedict who orchestrated Adalhard's exile after the altercation. At most, it shows that the two intellectuals crossed swords over so important an issue for the renewed engagement with monastic identity in the early ninth century, and, most importantly, that they had not been able to put their differences of opinion to rest after the deliberations were officially over. To the extent that Benedict's arrival in Aachen 814 might thus have catalyzed Adalhard's departure (allowing for the coincidence in the timing of these two events), this may just as well have been an instance of communal self-regulation: if these two harbored a grudge, that could only lead to more trouble down the road; maybe it would be best to keep them apart until further notice. But Adalhard was gone but not forgotten: it was equally significant that his return to courtly grace was immediate and (by all accounts) quite smooth once all the obstacles had been cleared. The mere fact that the two had disagreed over a reform measure did not make them enemies, and would not have led to the expulsion of so important a courtier. The fact that they harbored a grudge over an ongoing contentio, however, could have led to the decision to put Adalhard in the corner for the moment, so that the (memory of the) integrity of the court would remain inviolate (Airlie 2000). But it remains an open question if Benedict was the prime mover behind this decision, or even if he would have welcomed it (Kramer 2016b, 314–318). All that we can say is that the complexity of the Carolingian court in 814 allows for more scenarios leading up to Adalhard's removal, including ones that involve transparent mechanisms of self-regulation rather than covert and conspiratorial intrigues (McKitterick 2008, 79–80).

§29. Secondly, regarding the role of debate within a community, it is important to note that, rather than the disagreement itself, the problem for Hildemar seems to have been that he felt obligated to point out that the tonsuring of novices still was a point of contention. For his students, it was enough to know that "wise men" had had a disputatio over this. Only the Basilius-Recension raises a red flag by acknowledging that this may actually have been a contentio between two high-ranking members of the court, the memory of which lingered at the time of composition of the text. Either way, this was the heart of the problem. When engaging in the business of propagating monastic reform on an imperial scale, the court needed to present itself as maintaining consensus under all circumstances. Any public disagreement could inadvertently damage this projected image. The fact that this contentio actually touched upon what Renie Choy has argued was the "essence of Carolingian monasticism" only exacerbated things (2013). While we do not know which of the extant recensions of the Hildemar-commentary is the most "original," it is certainly significant that not all of them chose to hide this matter: this was important , and should be taken seriously. Communities which saw themselves faced with this very issue should tread carefully not to fall into the same trap. While continuously re-assessing one's relationship to the Regula Benedicti and the community that followed it necessitated some amount of debate, the acknowledgement that contentiones were possible as a result serves to warn readers of the high cost of disagreements about foundational elements of monastic life.

§30. In the end, what we have here is not a failure to communicate, but rather communication at an altogether different level. The thing that mattered to both the author of the Basilius-Recension and to Hildemar himself was not the conniving court politics that may or may not have taken place in the early ninth century—such comments were best left to hagiographers. To a monastic audience, this brief description would have brought to mind the fact that contentio was a dangerous thing, and public disagreements even more so, since they could threaten the hierarchies and structures that kept the community together (Milis 2005; Patzold 2000). It was a lesson within a lesson, a reminder that failure to fully convert to a monastic way of life could lead to the type of resentment that might ultimately tear apart a community. As both Gerd Althoff and Stephen White have argued in different ways in Barbara Rosenwein's volume on Anger's Past, displays of anger were powerful tools for communication, either as a ritual or in textual form after the dust had settled (Althoff 1998; White 1998). The righteousness of the anger would be determined by the agenda of the author making sense of things, for whom the end may or may not justify the means. To the readers of the Basilius-Recension, the memory of the enmity between Adalhard and Benedict taught a valuable lesson about the dangers of contentio and how there could be no room for complacency when it came to doing the right thing for the greater good.

§31. In the larger scheme of things, disputes, controversies and competitions were seen as a double-edged sword in the Carolingian world. If handled wrongly, and allowed to fester, a simple amica contentio could lead to discord within the Church as more people became involved in the conflict. If allowed to go "public" before the contentio had been resolved, it could harm the reputation of the community, and even cause more discontent in its wake (Erhart 2006). If contentions involved the people who could not handle the pressure, or if they reached a high enough level, individuals, groups or even entire dynasties might be isolated from further engagement with the public discourse, which could lead to an ever-widening division between various parties. However, if everybody played by the rules, kept their anger in check and their eyes set firmly on the ultimate goal (that is, enabling salvation for the faithful within the Church), the net effect of conflicts such as the one between Adalhard and Benedict might ultimately be positive. Throughout Smaragdus' Expositio—as indeed throughout his other works—the idea that love is what ultimately holds a community together is paramount. As he explains in his Diadema Monachorum, love is a many-splendored thing, the "most royal of virtues" which cannot be divided even by "differences of opinion"—haeresis is the term he uses here (Smaragdus Diadema Monachorum 4).8 Echoing Augustine, Smaragdus maintains that it is through love—for each other and for the Lord—that communities are built and allowed to prosper, even if their individual members sometimes agree to disagree.


Many thanks to Albrecht Diem and Cullen Chandler for their helpful and encouraging comments on an earlier draft of this article, and also to the anonymous peer reviewers whose input has been invaluable. Special thanks also go out to Melissa Kapitan, who was kind enough to discuss the penultimate version of this article with me, and to share some extremely helpful references and insights on the liturgical aspects of the argument presented here. Work on this article was supported by the Visiting Professorship provided by the Institute of History, Philosophical Faculty of the University of Hradec Králové in the Summer of 2019.


1. Although Contreni's overview is still a valuable starting point for research into the intellectual and cultural history of the period, it should be noted that the term "Carolingian Renaissance" is increasingly being questioned nowadays. [Back]

2. This metaphorical frying-pan is a borrowing from the description of the sacrifice in the Temple in Leviticus 6:21–22. [Back]

3. A crowd-sourced translation of Hildemar's Commentarium, spearheaded by Albrecht Diem, may be found online at The Hildemar Project. [Back]

4. This entry in the Glosae goes back to the eighth-century Liber Glossarum (Van der Meer 2016). [Back]

5. The Douay-Rheims Bible translates this quotation as "whereas there is among you envying and contention", but in this context "insofar" seems more appropriate. Many thanks to the anonymous peer reviewer who suggested this alternative. [Back]

6. This section of the Expositio starts similar to the wording in the Glosae: Contentio dicitur controversia, pertinacia vel disceptatio contentiosa. [Back]

7. Many thanks to Mel Kapitan for this reference. [Back]

8. Barry (2013, 16) translates this as "heresy," but the German translation by Schütz (2009, 44) opts for the more general "streit der Meinungen" (lit. "battle of the opinions"), which I believe to be more in line with the intentions of the work as a whole. [Back]

Works Cited

Airlie, Stuart. 2000. "The palace of memory: the Carolingian court as political centre." In Courts and Regions in Medieval Europe, edited by Sarah Rees Jones, Richard Marks and Alaister J. Minnis. York: York Medieval Press. [Back]

Althoff, Gerd. 1998. "Ira Regis: prolegomena to a history of royal anger." in Anger's Past: The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages, edited by Barbara Rosenwein. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. [Back]

Ardo. 2000. Vita Sancti Benedicti Abbatis Anianensis. Edited and translated by Walter Kettemann. Subsidia Anianensia: Überlieferungs- und textgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zur Geschichte Witiza-Benedikts, seines Klosters Aniane und zur sogenannten "anianischen Reform". Duisburg. Edited and translated by Gerhard Schmitz et al. Online at (last accessed 4 August 2020). Translated by Alan Cabaniss. 2008. The Emperor's Monk: Contemporary Life of Benedict of Aniane. Kalamazoo: Cistercian Studies). [Back]

Augustine. 1955. De Civitate Dei. Edited by B. Dombart and A. Kalb. Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 47–48. Turnhout: Brepols. Translated by Philip Schaff. 1886. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series 1, Volume 2. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing. [Back]

Benedict of Aniane. 1999. Concordia Regularum. Edited by Pierre Bonnerue. Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis 168. Turnhout: Brepols. [Back]

Benedict of Nursia. 2011. Regula Benedicti. Edited and translated by Bruce L. Venarde, The Rule of Saint Benedict, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 6. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. [Back]

Bonnerue, Pierre. 2001. "Introduction." In Ardon: Vie de Benoît d'Aniane, edited by P. Bonnerue, F. Baumes and A. de Vogüé. Bellefontaine: Bégrolles-en-Mauges. [Back]

Booker, Courtney. 2009. Past Convictions: The Penance of Louis the Pious and the Decline of the Carolingians. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. [Back]

———. 2016. "Iusta murmuratio : The Sound of Scandal in the Early Middle Ages." Revue Bénédictine 126.2:236–270. [Back]

Boretius, Alfred, ed. 1883. Epistola de Litteris Colendis. MGH Capitularia Regum Francorum 1. Hannover: Hahn. Translated in P.D. King. 1987. Charlemagne: Translated Sources. Kendal: Lambrigg. [Back]

Bührer-Thierry, Genevieve. 1998. "'Just anger' or Vengeful anger'?: The punishment of blinding in the early medieval West". In Angers Past: The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages. Edited by Barbara Rosenwein. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. [Back]

Byers, Catherine. 2013. Perception, Sensibility, and Moral Motivation in Augustine: A Stoic-Platonic Synthesis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Back]

Chandler, Cullen J. 2002. "Heresy and Empire: The Role of the Adoptionist Controversy in Charlemagne's Conquest of the Spanish March." International History Review 24:505–527. [Back]

Choy, Renie. 2013. "The deposit of monastic faith: the Carolingians on the essence of monasticism." In The Church on Its Past, edited by P. Clarke and C. Methuen. Woodbridge: Boydell. [Back]

———. 2017. Intercessory Prayer and the Monastic Ideal in the Time of Carolingian Reforms. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  [Back]

Clark, Gillian. 2018. "Imperium and the City of God: Augustine on Church and Empire." Studies in Church History 54:46–70; doi: 10.1017/stc.2017.4. [Back]

Claussen, Martin A. 2013. "Benedict of Aniane as teacher." In Discovery and Distinction in the Early Middle Ages: Studies in Honor of John J. Contreni. Edited by Cullen J. Chandler and Stephen A. Stofferahn. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications.  [Back]

Close, Florence. 2018. "O insecabilis unitas? Augustinisme et théologie politiques." In La productivité d"une crise: le règne de Louis le Pieux (814–840) et la transformation de l"Empire carolingien / Produktivität einer Krise: die Regierungszeit Ludwigs des Frommen (814–840) und die Transformation des karolingischen Imperiums, edited by Philippe Depreux and Stefan Esders. Ostfildern: Thorbecke.  [Back]

Contreni, John. 1995. "The Carolingian Renaissance: education and literary culture." In The New Cambridge Medieval History II c. 700-c. 900, edited by Rosamond McKitterick. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  [Back]

———. "Carolingian Era, early." In Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, edited by Alan D. Fitzgerald and John C. Cavadini. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Back]

De Jong, Mayke and Irene van Renswoude. 2017. "Introduction: Carolingian cultures of dialogue, debate and disputation." Early Medieval Europe 25.1:6–18. [Back]

De Jong, Mayke. 1983. "Growing up in a Carolingian monastery: magister Hildemar and his oblates." Journal of Medieval History 9:99–128. [Back]

———. 1995. "Carolingian monasticism: the power of prayer." In The New Cambridge Medieval History II c. 700-c. 900, edited by Rosamond McKitterick. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Back]

De Jong, Mayke. 1998. "Imitatio morum: the cloister and clerical purity in the Carolingian world." In Medieval Purity and Piety: Essays on Medieval Clerical Celibacy and Religious Reform, edited by Michael Frassetto. New York: Garland Publishing. [Back]

———. 2003. "Sacrum palatium et ecclesia: l'autorité religieuse royale sous les Carolingiens (790–840)." Annales: Histoire, Sciences Sociales 58.6:1243–1269. [Back]

———. 2009a. "The state of the Church: ecclesia and early medieval state formation." In Der frühmittelalterliche Staat: europäische Perspektiven, edited by Walter Pohl and Veronika Wieser. Wien: Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften.  [Back]

———. 2009b. The Penitential State: Authority and Atonement in the Age of Louis the Pious, 814–840. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  [Back]

———. 2019. Epitaph for an Era: Politics and Rhetoric in the Carolingian World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Back]

De Vogüé, Adalbert. 2006. "La Concordia regularum de Benoît d"Aniane: son vrai but et sa structure." In Il Monachesimo Italiano dall'Età Longobarda all'Età Ottoniana (secc. VIII-X): Atti del VII Convegno di Studi Storici sull'Italia Benedettina, Nonantola (Modena), 10–13 Settembre 2003, edited by Giovanni Spinelli. Cesena: Badia di Santa Maria del Monte. [Back]

Depreux, Philippe. 1997. Prosopographie de l'Entourage de Louis le Pieux (781–840). Sigmaringen: Thorbecke. [Back]

Diem, Albrecht. 2011. "Inventing the Holy Rule: Some Observations on the History of Monastic Normative Observance in the Early Medieval West". In Western Monasticism ante litteram: The Space of Monastic Observance in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, edited by Hendrik Dey and Elizabeth Fentress. Turnhout: Brepols.  [Back]

———. 2016. "The Carolingians and the Regula Benedicti". In Religious Franks: Religion and Power in the Frankish Kingdoms: Studies in Honour of Mayke de Jong, edited by Rob Meens, Dorine van Espelo, Bram van den Hoven van Genderen, Janneke Raaijmakers, Irene van Renswoude and Carine van Rhijn. Manchester: Manchester University Press. [Back]

Dyer, Joseph. 1989. "The Singing of Psalms in the Early-Medieval Office." Speculum 64:535–78. [Back]

Erhart, Peter. 2006. "Contentiones inter monachos: ethnische und politische Identität in monastischen Gemeinschaften des Frühmittelalters." In Texts and Identities in the Early Middle Ages, edited by Richard Corradini, Rob Meens, Christina Pössel and Philip Shaw. Wien: Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften. [Back]

Esposito, Roberto. 2010. Communitas: The Origin and Destiny of Communities. Translated by Timothy Campbell. Stanford: Stanford University Press. [Back]

Frotharius of Toul. 1998. Epistola 3. Edited and translated by Michel Parisse. La Correspondance d'un Évêque carolingien: Frothaire de Toul (ca. 813–847) avec les Lettres de Theuthilde, Abbesse de Remiremont. Paris: Publications de las Sorbonne. [Back]

Ganz, David. 1990. Corbie in the Carolingian Renaissance. Sigmaringen: Thorbecke. [Back]

Geuenich, Dieter. 1998. "Kritische Anmerkungen zur sogenannten 'anianischen Reform'." In Mönchtum—Kirche—Herrschaft 750–1000: Josef Semmler zum 65. Geburtstag, edited by Dieter R. Bauer, Rudolf Hiestand, Brigitte Kasten and Sönke Lorenz. Sigmaringen: Thorbecke. [Back]

Gillette, Gertrude. 2010. Four Faces of Anger: Seneca, Evagrius Ponticus, Cassian, and Augustine. Lanham, MA: University Press of America. [Back]

Ginzburg, Carlo. 1989. "Clues: roots of an evidential paradigm." Translated by John Tedeschi en Anne C. Tedeschi. Clues, Myths and the Historical Method. Baltimore, MA: Johns Hopkins University Press. [Back]

Godman, Peter. 1987. Poets and Emperors Frankish Politics and Carolingian Poetry. Oxford: Clarendon Press. [Back]

Hildemar. 1880. Expositio Regulae ab Hildemaro tradita. Edited by Ruppert Mittermüller. Regensburg: Pustet. [Back]

———. 1959. Commentarium in Regulam s. Benedicti (Basiliuskommentar). Münster: Aschendorffsche Verlagbuchhandlung.  [Back]

Innes, Matthew. 2002. "'He never even allowed his white teeth to be bared in laughter': the politics of humour in the Carolingian Renaissance." In Humour, History and Politics in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, edited by Guy Halsall. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  [Back]

Kasten, Brigitte. 1986. Adalhard von Corbie: die Biographie eines karolingischen Politikers und Klostervorstehers. Düsseldorf: Droste. [Back]

Kent, Bonnie. 2001 "Augustine's Ethics." In The Cambridge Companion to Augustine, edited by Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  [Back]

Kettemann, Walter. 2000. Subsidia Anianensia: Überlieferungs- und textgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zur Geschichte Witiza-Benedikts, seines Klosters Aniane und zur sogenannten "anianischen Reform". Duisburg. [Back]

———. 2016. "'Provocatively'? Zu den Motivationen und historischen Kontexten für die Mönchwerdung Witiza-Benedikts von Aniane." In Benedikt von Nursia und Benedikt von Aniane: Karl der Große und die Schaffung des "Karolingischen Mönchtums", edited by Gabriel Bunge and Jakobus Kaffanke. Beuron: Beuroner Kunstverlag.  [Back]

———. 2014. "'…ut normam salutiferam cunctis ostenderet': représentations de l"autorité impériale dans la Vita Benedicti Anianensis et la Vita Adalhardi." In Normes et Hagiographie dans l"Occident Chrétien (Ve-XVIe siècles): Actes du Colloque International de Lyon, 4–6 Octobre 2010, edited by Marie-Céline Isaïa and Thomas Granier. Turnhout: Brepols. [Back]

———. 2016a. "Adopt, adapt and improve: dealing with the Adoptionist controversy at the court of Charlemagne." In Religious Franks: Religion and Power in the Frankish Kingdoms: Studies in Honour of Mayke de Jong, edited by Rob Meens, Dorine van Espelo, Bram van den Hoven van Genderen, Janneke Raaijmakers, Irene van Renswoude and Carine van Rhijn. Manchester: Manchester University Press. [Back]

———r. 2016b. "Teaching emperors: transcending the boundaries of Carolingian monastic communities." In Meanings of Community across Medieval Eurasia: Comparative Approaches, edited by Eirik Hovden, Christina Lutter and Walter Pohl. Leiden: Brill. [Back]

———. 2017. "The exemption that proves the rule: autonomy and authority between Alcuin, Theodulf and Charlemagne (802)." Medieval Worlds: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Studies 6:231–261. [Back]

———. 2019. Rethinking Authority in the Carolingian Empire: Ideals and Expectations during the Reign of Louis the Pious (813–828). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.  [Back]

Laeuchli, Samuel. 1972. Power and Sexuality: The Emergence of Canon Law at the Synod of Elvira. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. [Back]

Leyser, Conrad. 2012. "Augustine in the early medieval West, 430–ca. 900." In A Companion to Augustine, edited by Mark Vessey. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. [Back]

McComb, Maximillian. 2017. Strategies of Correction: Corporal Punishment in the Carolingian Empire 742–900. Cornell University. [Back]

McGrath, Kate. 2010. "The Politics of Chivalry: The Function of Anger and Shame in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Anglo-Norman Historical Narratives." In Feud, violence and practice: essays in medieval studies in honor of Stephen D. White, edited by Belle Stoddard Tuten and Tracey Lynn Billado. Farnham: Routlegde. [Back]

McKitterick, Rosamond. 2008. Charlemagne: The Formation of a European Identity Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Back]

Meens, Rob. 2007. "Sanctuary, penance, and dispute settlement under Charlemagne: the conflict between Alcuin and Theodulf of Orleans over a sinful cleric." Speculum 82:277–300. [Back]

Milis, Ludo J. R. 2005. "Dispute and settlement in medieval coenobitical rules." In Religion, Culture, and Mentalities in the Medieval Low Countries, edited by Jeroen Deploige et al. Turnhout: Brepols. [Back]

Moesch, Sophia. 2020. Augustine and the Art of Ruling in the Carolingian Imperial Period: Political Discourse in Alcuin of York and Hincmar of Rheims. Abingdon: Routledge. [Back]

Mordek Hubert, Klaus Zechiel-Eckes and Michael Glatthaar, eds. 2012. Admonitio Generalis. MGH Fontes iuris 16. Hannover: Hahn. Translated in P.D. King. 1987. Charlemagne: Translated Sources. Kendal: Lambrigg. [Back]

Nelson, Janet. 2009. "How Carolingians created consensus." In Le monde carolingien: bilan, perspectives, champs de recherches, edited by Wojciech Falkowski and Yves Sassier. Brepols: Turnhout. [Back]

———. 2016. "Revisiting the Carolingian Renaissance." In Motions of Late Antiquity: Essays on Religion, Politics and Society in Honour of Peter Brown, edited by Jamie Kreiner and Helmut Reimitz. Turnhout: Brepols. [Back]

Niermeyer, Jan Frederik. 1976. Mediae Latinitatis lexicon minus. Leiden: Brill.  [Back]

Noble, Thomas F.X. 2009. Images, Iconoclasm, and the Carolingians. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. [Back]

Palmer, James. 2014. The Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Back]

Paschasius Radbertus. 1852. Vita Adalhardi. Edited by J.P. Migne, Patrologia Latina 120. Paris. Translated by Allen Cabaniss. 1967. Charlemagne's Cousins: Contemporary Lives of Adalard and Wala. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. [Back]

Patzold, Steffen. 2000. Konflikte im Kloster. Studien zu Auseinandersetzungen in monastischen Gemeinschaften des ottonisch-salischen Reichs. Husum : Matthiesen Verlag. [Back]

Phelan, Owen. 2014. The Formation of Christian Europe: The Carolingians, Baptism, and the Imperium Christianum. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Back]

Ponesse, Matthew. 2006. "Smaragdus of St Mihiel and the Carolingian Monastic Reform." Revue Bénédictine 116:367–392. [Back]

Raaijmakers, Janneke. 2012. The Making of the Monastic Community of Fulda, c.744-c.900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Back]

Rosenwein, Barbara. 2006. Emotional Communities in the Early Middle Ages. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. [Back]

Schlosser, David. 2017. "Love Your Neighbor? Augustine and Society in the Carolingian World and Beyond." The Heroic Age: A Journal of Medieval Northwestern Europe 17.  [Back]

Scholz, Sebastian. 2018. "Normierung durch Konzile. Die Reformsynoden von 813 und das Problem der Überschneidung von geistlicher und weltlicher Sphäre." In Charlemagne: les temps, les espaces, les hommes: Construction et déconstruction d'un règne, edited by Rolf Grosse and Michel Sot. Brepols: Turnhout. [Back]

Semmler, Josef. 1958. "Studien zum Supplex Libellus und zur anianischen Reform in Fulda." Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 69: 268–297. [Back]

———. 1963. "Die Beschlüsse des Aachener Konzils im Jahre 816." Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 74:15–73. [Back]

———. 1983. "Benedictus II: una regula-una consuetudo." In Benedictine Culture, 750–1050, edited by Willem Lourdaux and Daniel Verhelst. Leuven: Peeters. [Back]

Silvas, Anna M. ed. 2013. Regula Basilii: The Rule of St Basil in Latin and English: A Revised Critical Edition. Collegeville MI: Liturgical Press. [Back]

Smaragdus. 1853. Diadema Monachorum. Edited by J.P. Migne, Patrologia Latina 102. Paris. Translated by David Barry. 2013. Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel: Diadema Monachorum—The Crown of Monks. Kalamazoo: Cistercian Studies; Christian Schütz OSB. 2009. Smaragdus von Saint-Mihiel: Diadem der Mönche. St. Ottilien: EOS Verlag. [Back]

———. 1974. Expositio in Regulam Sancti Benedicti. edited by Alfred Spannagel and Pius Engelbert, Corpus Consuetudinum Monasticarum 8. Siegburg: Schmitt. Translated by David Barry. 2007. Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel: Commentary on the Rule of Saint Benedict. Kalamazoo: Cistercian Studies. [Back]

Straw, Carole. 1988. Gregory the Great: Perfection in Imperfection. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. [Back]

Teeuwen, Mariken. 2003. The Vocabulary of Intellectual Life in the Middle Ages. Turnhout: Brepols. [Back]

Tignolet, Claire. 2012. "Jeux poétiques a la cour de Charlemagne: compétition et intégration." In Agon: La Compétition Ve–XIIe Siècle, edited by Francois Bougard, Regine Le Jan and Thomas Lienhard. Turnhout: Brepols, 2012. [Back]

Tronca, Donatella. 2016. "Restricted Movement: Dancing from Late Antiquity through the Early Middle Ages." Journal of the LUCAS Graduate Conference 4: 52–63. [Back]

Urbanus, Mariël. 2016. "'The Abbot Shall Decide out of Necessity': Changing the order of the congregation in the Hildemar Commentary (c. 845–50)." In Shaping Stability. The Normation and Formation of Religious Life in the Middle Ages, edited by Krijn Pansters and Abraham Plunkett-Latimer. Turnhout: Brepols. [Back]

Van der Meer, Matthieu ed. 2017. Glosae in regula Sancti Benedicti abbatis ad usum Smaragdi Sancti Michaelis abbatis. Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Medievalis 282. Turnhout: Brepols. [Back]

Van der Meer, Matthieu. 2016. "The Glosae in regula S. Benedicti: A text between the Liber glossarum and Smaragdus' Expositio in Regulam S. Benedicti." Dossiers d'HEL 10:305–319. [Back]

Van Renswoude, Irene. 2019 The Rhetoric of Free Speech in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Back]

White, Stephen D. 1998. "The Politics of Anger." In Anger's Past: The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages, edited by Barbara Rosenwein. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. [Back]

Wickham, Chris. 2016. Medieval Europe. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. [Back]

Zelzer, Klaus. 1981. "Überlegungen zu einer Gesamtedition des frühmittelalterlich-karolingischen Kommentars zur Regula s. Benedicti aus der Tradition des Hildemar von Corbie." Revue bénédictine 91:373–382. [Back]

———. 1989. "Von Benedikt zu Hildemar: zu Textgestalt und Textgeschichte der Regula Benedicti auf ihrem Weg zur Alleingeltung." Frühmittelalterliche Studien 23: 112–130. [Back]