Richard Broome

Richard Broome

Medieval History PhD Student

Summary: Thesis: Defining the Other in the Merovingian and early Carolingian periods

My research

Defining the Other in the Merovingian and early Carolingian periods 

The aim of this project is two-fold. First, it examines the various ways in which early medieval authors perceived and wrote about the community to which they belonged, and what they imagined this community to consist of (for example, what they meant by the term 'Franks'). Second, it dispenses with the modern categorisations of 'Germanic' or 'Slavic', and looks instead at the discussions and depictions of non-Franks and those otherwise excluded in some way from the Frankish community, and thus at the ethnographic, Biblical and escatological resources that underpinned them. The chief sources are the Chronicle of Fredegar (with Continuations), the Liber Historiae Francorum (Book of the History of the Franks), Einhard's Life of Charlemagne, the early Carolingian annals, the 'political' hagiography of the seventh century, and the missionary hagiography of the late-eighth and early-ninth centuries.

This project, then, is intended to evaluate both continuity and change in perception of neighbouring peoples, and the related shift in the use of classical and Biblical terminology, from the mid-seventh to the early-ninth century. It is intended to be an exercise in the study of Frankish culture and its resources, combining material that has usually been separated off into different historical and hagiographical compartments, and different chronological periods.

Funded by, and part of the HERA International Collaborative project Cultural Memory and the Resources of the Past

Supervisor: Professor Ian Wood

About me

I graduated from Lancaster University in 2007 with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. I returned to Lancaster in 2008 to undertake an MA in Historical Research.

My undergraduate thesis focussed on the often complex depiction of the barbarians in the Late Roman world, looking in particular at the works of Ammianus Marcellinus, Olympiodorus of Thebes, Priscus of Panium and Sidonius Apollinaris.

For my MA thesis I shifted my interest to the construction of authority in the post-Roman world by examining the political function of Visigothic hagiography in the first half of the seventh century. As well as King Sisebut's Life and Passion of Desiderius, Braulio of Saragossa's Life of Aemilian and the anonymous Lives of the Fathers of the Merida, the thesis also considered the contributions of chronicles and law-codes, and especially Isidore of Seville to the discourse of royal and ecclesiastical power in the period.

I am currently one of the General Editors for the online, Open Access journal Networks and Neighbours, as well as one of the organisers of the related series of symposia on Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. The first issue of the journal was published in July 2013, and the first symposium was held in Leeds on 25-25 June 2013. The next symposium will be held in Curitiba, Brazil in April 2014.

Papers and publications

I have made a selection of items from this list available to download at my Academia page.

Contributions to edited volumes

'Pagans, Rebels and Merovingians: Otherness in the early Carolingian world', in C. Gantner, R. McKitterick and S. Meeder (eds.), Cultural Memory and the Resources of the Past in Early Medieval Europe (Cambridge, Forthcoming).

Conference reports

'Cultural Memory and the Resources of the Past c.400-1000', Networks and Neighbours 1 (2013), 74-82. View online

Conference papers

'Approaches to Community in the Frankish Kingdoms c.660-800: Continuity and Change', International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2013.

'Approaches to the Frankish Community in the Chronicle of Fredegar and Liber Historiae Francorum', 2013 Edinburgh University Seventh Century Colloquium: Continuity or Discontinuity?, University of Edinburgh, May 2013.

'Pagans, Rebels and Merovingians: Otherness in the early Carolingian world', HERA Cultural Memory and the Resources of the Past International Conference, British School at Rome, February 2013.

'Rebel Duke and Pagan King: The variety in early Carolingian depictions of Radbod of Frisia', Texts and Identities in the Early Middle Ages XVI, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna, January 2013.

'Pagans, Rebels and Merovingians: Otherness in the early Carolingian world', International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2012.

'Saints, Pagans and the Creation of a Christian Community in Early Carolingian Frisia', Texts and Identities in the Early Middle Ages XV, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, December 2011.

'Approaches to the Other c.750', International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2011.

Seminar papers

'The 'Other' Boniface: Vita altera Bonifatii in its Frisian and wider Carolingian context', Centre for Medieval Studies, Utrecht University, April 2013.

Other responsibilities

I am currently Editor of the website for the Institute for Medieval Studies.