The divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga: Hincmar of Rheims's De divortio
Publication date: 1 January 2017
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In the mid-ninth century, Francia was rocked by the first royal divorce scandal of the Middle Ages: the attempt by King Lothar II of Lotharingia to rid himself of his queen, Theutberga and remarry. Even 'women in their weaving sheds' were allegedly gossiping about the lurid accusations made. Kings and bishops from neighbouring kingdoms, and several popes, were gradually drawn into a crisis affecting the fate of an entire kingdom.
This is the first professionally published translation of a key source for this extraordinary episode: Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims's De divortio Lotharii regis et Theutbergae reginae. This text offers eye-opening insight both on the political wrangling of the time and on early medieval attitudes towards magic, penance, gender, the ordeal, marriage, sodomy, the role of bishops, and kingship. The translation includes a substantial introduction and annotations, putting the case into its early medieval context and explaining Hincmar's sometimes-dubious methods of argument.
Translated and annotated by Rachel Stone and Charles West
Publisher: Manchester Medieval Sources Online