Annals of Fulda

The Annales Fuldenses or Annals of Fulda are East Frankish chronicles that cover independently the period from the last years of Louis the Pious (died 840) to shortly after the end of effective Carolingian rule in East Francia with the accession of the child-king, Louis III, in 900. Throughout this period they are a near contemporary record of the events they describe and a primary source for Carolingian historiography. They are usually read as a counterpart to the narrative found in the West Frankish Annales Bertiniani.

Authorship and manuscripts

The Annals were composed at the Abbey of Fulda in Franconia. A note in one manuscript has been taken to prove that the entries down to 838 were composed by Einhard (Enhard in the MS), yet it has been convincingly argued that this might only have been a copyist's colophon that has abusively entered the manuscript tradition, a sort of accident far from uncommon in medieval scriptoria. Be that as it may, a second note sets on more solid grounds the attribution of the annals down to 864 to Rudolf of Fulda, whose manuscript, though not conserved, is mentioned in independent sources and has left traces in the tradition. Some scholars believe that the whole work was first put together by an unknown compiler only in the 870s. It has also been suggested that they were continued after 864 by Meinhard, but very little is known of this continuator of Rudolf's work. However, already after 863 the three (Kurze) or two (Hellman) manuscript groups of the Annals break off into different overlapping versions, continuing Rudolf's work down to 882 (or 887) and 896 (or 901). The two alleged principal extensions have been styled the "Mainz" and "Bavarian" continuations respectively. The Mainz version shows strong links with the circle of Liutbert, Archbishop of Mainz, and is written from a Franconian perspective and are partisan to Liutbert and the kings he served. The Bavarian continuation was probably written in Regensburg until 896 and thereafter in Niederalteich. A new edition is eagerly awaited.

Sources

The years 714 to 830 are largely based on the Royal Frankish Annals (741–829) and the Annals of Lorsch (703–803, including continuations). After that date the Annals of Fulda are relatively independent.

Content

The events recorded in the annals include the death of Louis the Pious and the subsequent dividing of the Frankish Empire into three parts at the Treaty of Verdun. After 860, the annals focus mainly on events in eastern Francia and on its king Louis the German and his sons. It also describes in some detail the raids conducted by the Vikings in the Frankish Empire from 845 onwards. Other events recorded in the annals include various 'miraculous' events such as comets, earthquakes and disease. The annals end in 901, a year after the succession of Louis the Child.

Importance

Along with the Annales Bertiniani (Annals of Saint-Bertin, the West Frankish narratives of the same events), the Annals of Fulda are the principal historical primary source for ninth-century Carolingian studies.

References

  • The Annals of Fulda. Ninth-century Histories 2, trans. and annotated by Timothy Reuter (Manchester Medieval Sources series, Manchester, 1991), 1–14.
  • : "Rudolf of Fulda."
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