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Title Building, Enacting and Embodying Romanitas: the Throne of Charlemagne
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About author Allan George Doig – FSA, Ph. D. Fellow, Tutor for Graduates and Chaplain, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford; The Priory, Hudson Street, Oxon OX15 0SW Deddington, United Kingdom
In the section Classical Antiquity on the Ribs of European Middle Ages DOI10.18688/aa155-4-40
Year 2015 Volume 5 Pages 376382
Type of article RAR Index UDK 7.033.4...21; 7.027.2 Index BBK 85.126; 66.1(0)

This paper will explore the development of aspects of the ideological underpinning of Charlemagne’s Renovatio Romani Imperii. The object under inspection will be Charlemagne’s throne in the Basilica at Aachen, and attention will extend to the origin of its materials, its artistic, architectural and ceremonial context, and what it has to tell us about the person and the office of the King-Emperor. Romanitas, in this sense, is a set of ideals projected backwards onto the Christian Roman Empire and its remnants. This vision of Roman identity was made visible in cultural manifestations from daily rituals to art and architecture. Elements of all these had survived the gradual collapse of Roman institutions in the Western Empire. The narrative of the founding of the Christian Empire provided by Eusebius, was explicitly emulated and continued by Gregory of Tours in his History of the Franks, in which he records the elements of the Roman legacy that survived in Merovingian Gaul to the end of the 6th century. With Merovingian royal power exhausted, the Pippinids took the inheritance of these fragments in combination with newly acquired fragments, cultural spolia you might say, and combined them within ecclesiastical and intellectual disciplines from “Rome” itself, to create a renewed Empire in bricolage. The throne will show how this reconstituted romanitas was convincing enough to be mocked (defensively), yet grudgingly admired, and finally recognised by the Emperor in the other “New Rome”.

Reference Allan Doig. Building, Enacting and Embodying Romanitas: the Throne of Charlemagne. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 5. Eds: Svetlana V. Maltseva, Ekaterina Yu. Stanyukovich-Denisova, Anna V. Zakharova. St. Petersburg, NP-Print Publ., 2015, pp. 376–382. ISSN 2312-2129.
Publication Article language english
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