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Title: The sanctity of the state under Frederick Barbarossa (1152-1190) : Saint Charlemagne and the sacrum imperium
Author: Sulovsky, Vedran
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 3491
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2020
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In my thesis I discuss a very influential and widely accepted thesis on the resacralisation of the Holy Roman Empire by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa (1152 - 1190) and Rainald of Dassel (chancellor 1156 - 1159, archbishop of Cologne 1159 - 1167). I first trace the history of this opinion, showing how scholars gradually came to consider sacrum imperium, the phrase from which the title Holy Roman Empire evolved, as the motto of Frederick and Rainald's imperial ideology. In the postwar period the translation of the bodies of the Three Kings from Milan to Cologne in 1164 by Rainald of Dassel, the canonisation of Charlemagne in 1165, the design of the Cappenberg head, the Barbarossa chandelier and the reliquary shrine of Saint Charlemagne were reinterpreted as elements of Frederick's plan to resacralise the state. In my thesis I show that there was no such plan. The state had always been both holy and Roman to an extent, but the terminology changed in the twelfth century because of the influence of classical antiquity via Byzantium and Italy. Meanwhile, Frederick's part in the canonisation of Charlemagne and the visual elaboration of his cult shows how the German magnates and the canons of Aachen similarly reached back to their own founder figure, Charlemagne, to celebrate their unity and legitimise their inherited authority. However, while Frederick commissioned the Barbarossaleuchter to celebrate his grand Easter diet of 1174, the Karlsschrein was a project of Aachen's Marienstift and the burghers.
Supervisor: Berend, Nora Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) ; Sidney Sussex College's Osborn Research Studentship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Frederick Barbarossa ; Aachen ; Charlemagne ; Saint Charlemagne ; Sacrum imperium ; Imperial chancery ; Diplomatic ; Barbarossaleuchter ; Karlsschrein ; Twelfth century Renaissance ; Romanitas ; Romanising phraseology ; Roman law ; Lotharingia ; Romanesque art ; Sigillography ; Canonisation ; Investiture Controversy ; Pope Alexander III ; Rainald of Dassel ; Biblical Magi ; Cologne Cathedral ; Cappenberg head ; Otto of Cappenberg ; Wibald of Stavelot ; Peter the Deacon ; Byzantine influence on Latin Europe ; Latin state terminology ; Holy kingship ; Otto of Freising ; Italian communes ; Alexandrine schism