Charles West (Sheffield), ‘The Lost Kingdom: a British perspective on the collapse of Lotharingia’ (23 fév.)

Jeudi 23 février à 17h : Charles West (Sheffield), ‘The Lost Kingdom: a British perspective on the collapse of Lotharingia’

The Treaty of Verdun had seen the division of the Carolingian world between Charlemagne’s three surviving grandsons, Lothair I (who inherited the imperial title), Louis the German and Charles the Bald. Then appeared the Francia media, a wide territory between Italy and the North Sea, and which returned to Lothair I who could thus take possession of the former unitary capital, Aachen. Lothair I, however, died in 855, forcing a new division. His son Lothair II then took possession of a realm between Meuse and Rhine that now bore his name, Lotharingia. Rich, willingly rebellious but divided into rival families, the regional nobility led for more than a century a delicate policy of switching between West Francia and Germania. Memories of this period were often reactivated by European historiography: first by the Bourbons, to justify the rights of the Crown of France over Lorraine, then by the nascent Germany, to negotiate its western borders. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the memory of the lost Francia media was also an element of identity for the young Luxemburg. Now torn between five European countries, this phantom kingdom of the tenth century remains an object of fantasy: the dream of a lost unity that probably never existed. The purpose of this conference is to show the profound renewal that historiography has undergone through the hitherto marginal point of view of British historians.


Charles West is professor in Medieval History at the University of Sheffield.  His research focuses on Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. His publications include The Divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga: Hincmar of Rheims’s De divortio (Manchester University Press, 2016).