Michel Summer

The Liber Aureus and Willibrord's network

Willibrord’s (AD 658-739) manifold cultural connections are well known, as is the importance of his foundation at Echternach as a centre of manuscript production in the eighth and ninth centuries. His political network on the continent, however, is still analysed within the framework of two modern historiographical master narratives: the ‘Christianisation’ of Europe and the ‘rise’ of the Carolingian dynasty. Following the perspectives of Bede and Alcuin, modern historians have reduced Willibrord’s activity to his role as a ‘harbinger’ of Anglo-Saxon missionary activity and Carolingian political domination. The chartulary of the twelfth-century Liber Aureus Epternacensis hints at the existence of a wider political and geographical network within which Willibrord was active, but its content has traditionally been analysed with the aim of identifying possible relations between the donors and the family of Pippin II. The paper discusses the context of the Liber’s compilation, the problems associated with the modern edition by Henri-Camille Wampach and the implications for the study of Willibrord’s political activity on the continent.

Michel Summer, June 2019

PhD Candidate, Trinity College Dublin

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