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Vox Auctoritatis: The Carolingian Liturgy Of Authority

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Chapter Summary

The medieval liturgy can be viewed as a specific type of symbolic communication between the Christian people and God. Liturgy played an important role in maintaining social stability by symbolizing, as Rosamond McKitterick remarks in relation to the Carolingian period, ?the essential unity of Frankish society.? The symbolic language of Carolingian authority was characterized by layers of royal liturgy. The earliest layer, monastic prayers on behalf of the ruler, had been already established in seventh-century Gaul, when Merovingian rulers like Balthild initiated special liturgical relations. There was an attempt to establish a two-fold structure of royal masses: everyday royal masses in imperial monasteries conducted by monastic communities, and public royal masses celebrated across the realm and accessible to laymen. This liturgical initiative, which was put on hold by the death of Benedict of Aniane, was implemented only during the reign of Charles the Bald.

Keywords: Benedict of Aniane; Carolingian liturgy; Charles the Bald; Frankish society; Queen Balthild; Rosamond McKitterick; royal masses; Vox Auctoritatis

10.1163/ej.9789004166691.i-394.12
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004166691.i-394.12
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