Codex Epistolaris Carolinus

BookCodex Epistolaris Carolinus

Codex Epistolaris Carolinus

Letters from the popes to the Frankish rulers, 739-791

Translated Texts for Historians, 77


May 1st, 2021





The Codex epistolaris Carolinus preserves ninety-nine letters, dated between 739  and 791 and sent by the popes to the Frankish king Charlemagne and his predecessors. The compilation was commissioned by Charlemagne in 791, but the sole surviving medieval manuscript of the letters was made at Cologne in the later ninth century and is now in Vienna (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Cod. 449). The headings or lemmata provided for each letter by the Frankish compilers in 791 and faithfully preserved in the codex, add a distinctive Frankish commentary on events in Rome and Italy in the second half of the eighth century. This book not only provides the first full English translation of the letters and lemmata in the Codex epistolaris Carolinus but also re-creates the original Carolingian order of presentation of the letters according to the manuscript. A substantial introduction discusses the historical significance of the collection, the compilation and contexts of the Vienna manuscript, especially the significance of the lemmata, the peculiarities of the Latin of the papal letters and the biblical citations, and the historical context of the letters themselves. The lemmata and letter translations are augmented with introductions to each letter and a comprehensive historical commentary and glossary.

Author Information

Rosamond McKitterick is Professor Emerita of Medieval History, University of Cambridge. Her most recent book is Rome and the Invention of the Papacy: The Liber Pontificalis (Cambridge 2020). Dorine van Espelo is Policy Advisor, Province of Gelderland, The Netherlands. She is co-editor of Religious Franks. Religion and Power in the Frankish Kingdoms: Studies in Honour of Mayke de Jong (Manchester 2016). Richard Pollard is Professor in the Department of History, Université du Québec à Montréal. He is the editor of Imagining the Medieval Afterlife (Cambridge 2020). Richard Price is Professor Emeritus of the History of Christianity, Heythrop College and Honorary Research Fellow, Royal Holloway, University of London. His many previous publications include The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 553 (Liverpool 2009), The Acts of the Lateran Synod of 649 (with P. Booth & C. Cubitt, Liverpool 2014), The Acts of the Second Council of Nicaea (Liverpool 2018), The Council of Ephesus of 431 (with T. Graumann, Liverpool 2020) and Canons of the Quinisext Council (691/2) (Liverpool 2020).