In the mid-ninth century, Francia was rocked by the first royal divorce scandal of the Middle Ages: the attempt by King Lothar II of Lotharingia to rid himself of his queen, Theutberga and remarry. Even 'women in their weaving sheds' were allegedly gossiping about the lurid accusations made. Kings and bishops from neighbouring kingdoms, and several popes, were gradually drawn into a crisis affecting the fate of an entire kingdom. This is the first professionally published translation of a key source for this extraordinary episode: Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims's De divortio Lotharii regis et Theutbergae reginae. This text offers eye-opening insight both on the political wrangling of the time and on early medieval attitudes towards magic, penance, gender, the ordeal, marriage, sodomy, the role of bishops, and kingship.The translation includes a substantial introduction and antations, putting the case into its early medieval context and explaining Hincmar's sometimes-dubious methods of argument.
Rachel Stone is Visiting Research Associate in the Department of History at King's College, London Charles West is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Sheffield