restricted access 'Franks, Burgundians and Aquitanians' and the royal coronation ceremony in France (review)
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142 Reviews Answering these questions propels Borst through manyfieldsand across many disciplinary boundaries, including dating schemes reliant upon the eras of European history and the reigns of individual potentates, the nature of time theory in Greek and Roman antiquity, time theory in the context of Christian salvation, the endle.s fretting over the date of Easter, the correlation between macrocosmic and microcosmic time, the diurnal rhythms of worship and work, the confusion between time measured by horologue and time measured by clepsidra, and the collision between equinoctial and temporal hours. Beneath these historical preoccupations one senses St Augustine's endearing utterance that one knows perfectly well what time is until one is compelled to define it. And perhaps, at the heart of all these complex schemata there is Augustine's terror that, without a valid time theory, the centuries roll by 'like empty jars'. This book is essential reading for all chronophiliacs. David Ormerod Department of English Brown, Elizabeth A. R., 'Franks, Burgundians and Aquitanians' and the royal coronation ceremony in France (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 82, part 7), Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1992; paper; pp. xi, 189; 2 plates; R.R.P. US$20.00. Although a monograph on coronation ceremonial, Professor Brown's work is of more general importance as a study in textual transmission by medieval and Renaissance scholars. The crux of her argument is the apparent attempt to substitute in the French coronation service Franks, Burgundians, and Aquitanians for Saxons, Mercians, and Northumbrians. The curiously anachronistic, though politically adroit, use of English peoples as specified subjects of the French king is overwhelmingly attested from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century and derives from the tenthcentury English ordo made familiar in France through the abbey of Corbie. The triad of Franks, Burgundians, and Aquitanians was prima facie so much more relevant and was familiar in French chronicles and charters from the tenth century onwards. In one twelfth-century manuscript, recording a particular but unspecified coronation, this triad replaces the Anglo-Saxon trio. Reviews 143 A n analysis of the composite manuscript, now in the Bibliotheque Nationale, and its rediscovery and publication by the influential royal historiographer, Jean du Tillet, in the sixteenth century is the twin thrust of Brown's study. Very convincingly, she argues that the ceremony to which this innovation was exceptionally appropriate was the wedding of Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine in Bordeaux in 1137. Louis had already been crowned at Rheims in 1131 during his father's lifetime and had been anointed with the miraculous oil of St Remi, which thereafter became so important. But in 1137 Eleanor and her husband were both crowned at Bordeaux just before the death of Louis VI and again on 8 August 1137, immediately after the news of Louis's death reached them. As Orderic Vitalis commented, 'the young Louis was crowned and thus obtained the kingdom of the Franks and the duchy of Aquitaine, which none of his ancestors had held'. N o wonder Suger is the prime suspect for the innovation. Just as 1137 made the Aquitanian part of the formula relevant, so the divorce of Louis V n and Eleanor in 1152 reduced its relevance. It still seems odd, however, that throughout the Hundred Years War, when suzerainty over Aquitaine was of such importance, the Valois kings continued to use the late Capetians' exclusive use of Saxons, Mercians and Northumbrians. Brown does not succeed in mounting any persuasive argument about the relationship of the coronation style to the various levels of political positioning that the end of Capetian rule induced from both the kings of England and France. Instead she produces a fascinating, though rather dense, account of French archival culture in the sixteenth century. Her text has to be read in conjunction with bulky and sometimes argumentative footnotes. The eighty-eight pages of text are supported by 329 footnotes, sometimes occupying half the page. The bibliography runs to 35 pages. This is not a monograph which carries its learning lightly. The amount of material copied or printed in the early modern period often from manuscripts no longer available is impressive, as also, as Brown makes clear, is the scholarship...