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The Otherness of Non-Christians in the Early Middle Ages

  • James T. Palmer (a1)

Non-Christian ‘others’ were crucial to the definition of early medieval Christendom. Many groups certainly found it important to generate a sense of belonging through shared practice, history and ideals. But the history of Christianity was a story of conflict, which from the very beginning saw a community of believers struggling against Jews and ‘pagan’ Romans. At the end, too, Christ warned there would be ‘false prophets’ and tribulations, and John of Patmos saw the ravages of Gog and Magog against the faithful. When many early medieval Christians looked at ‘religious others’, they saw not so much ‘members of religions’, as they did people defined by typologies and narratives designed to express the nature and trajectory of Christendom itself. This has been a recurring theme in scholarship which has sought to understand Christian views of pagans, Muslims and Jews in the period, but the effect and purpose of such rhetoric is not always fully appreciated.

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1 Hans-Werner Goetz, , Die Wahrnehmunng anderer Religionen and christlich-abendländ- isches Selbstverständnis im frühen Mittelalter (5.-12.Jahrhundert) (Berlin, 2012), 1011.

2 For further analysis of the importance of apocalypse for early medieval ‘otherness’, see Palmer, James T., ‘Apocalypse Outsiders and their Uses in the Early Medieval West’, in Felicitas Schnieder, Rebekka Voss and Wolfram Brandes, eds, Völker der Endzeit: Apokalyptische Vorstellungen and politische Szenarien (Berlin, forthcoming 2015).

3 Haimo, In Apocalypsin 2.6 (PL 117, 1028).

4 Hoyland, Robert, Seeing Islam as others saw it: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam (New York, 1997); Tolan, John, Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination (New York, 2002). On pagans, see Ian Wood, ‘The Pagans and the Other:Varying Presentations in the Early Middle Ages’, Networks and Neighbours 1 (2013), 1–22. On Jews, see Drews, Wolfram, The Unknown Neighbour: The jew in the Thought of Isidore of Seville (Leiden, 2006).

5 MacMullen, Ramsay, Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries (New Haven, CT, 1997).

6 Fletcher, Richard, The Conversion of Europe: From Paganism to Christianity, 371–1386 AD (London, 1997).

7 For a history drawn almost exclusively from the Latin sources, see Collins, Roger, The Arab Conquest of Spain: 710797 (Oxford, 1989). Clarke, Nicola, The Muslim Conquest of Iberia: Medieval Arabic Narratives (London, 2012), offers a stimulating appraisal of the Arabic sources.

8 Pohl, Walter and Heydemann, Gerda, eds, Strategies of Identification: Ethnicity and Religion in Early Medieval Europe (Turnhout, 2013); Pohl, Walter and Reimitz, Helmut, eds, Strategies of Distinction: The Construction of Ethnic Communities, 300-800 (Leiden, 1998). Different positions are argued for in Gillett, Andrew, ed., On Barbarian Identity: Critical Approaches to Ethnicity in the Early Middle Ages (Turnhout, 2002).

9 The paradigm shift is best represented by Brown, Peter, The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, AD 200-1000, 2nd edn (Oxford, 2003). Old classics include Albert Hauck, Kirchengeschichte Dentschlands, 5 vols (Leipzig, 1898–1913); Erich Caspar, Geschichte des Papsttum von den Anfgängen bis zur Höhe der Weltherrschaft, 2 vols (Tübingen, 1930–3); and, for the context of the present essay, Wallace-Hadrill, J. Michael, The Fmnkish Church (Oxford, 1983).

10 Smith, Julia, Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History, 500-1000 (Oxford, 2005); Wickham, Chris, Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean 400-800 (Oxford, 2005).

11 McKitterick, Rosamond, The Carolingians and the Written Word (Cambridge, 1989).

12 For an account of the period sensitive to local variations, in addition to Brown, Rise of Western Christendom, see Wickham, Chris, The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400–1000 (London, 2009).

13 Davidson, Hilda Ellis, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe (London, 1964); john D. Niles, ‘Pagan Survivals and Popular Belief, in Herren, Michael and Lapidge, Michael, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature (Cambridge, 1991), 126–41; North, Richard, Heathen Cods in Old English Literature (Cambridge, 1997). For more caution, see Sanmark, Alexandra, Power and Conversion: A Comparative Study of Chris-tianization in Scandinavia (Uppsala, 2004), 143–79.

14 Palmer, James T.,‘Defining Paganism in the Carolingian World’, EME 15 (2007), 402–25. Goetz, , Wahrnehmung, 144–63, defends the level of knowledge about pagan practices.

15 Instructive is Ian Wood, ‘Pagan Religion and Superstition East of the Rhine from the Fifth to the Ninth Century’, in Ausenda, Giorgio, ed., After Empire: Towards an Ethnology of Europe's Barbarians (Woodbridge, 1995), 253–68; see also Goetz, , Wahrnehmung, 144–63.

16 Especially Salvian, De gubernatione Dei 4.16 (MGH AA 1/1, 51–2).

17 Clarke, , Muslim Conquest, 16.

18 Hoyland, , Seeing Islam, 55–61 (on the Doctrina Jacobi), 195 (on bar Penkaye); Howard-Johnston, James, Witnesses to a World Crisis: Historians and Histories of the Middle East in the Seventh Century (Oxford, 2010).

19 Reinink, Gerrit,‘Pseudo-Methodius: A Concept of History in Response to the Rise of Islam’, in Cameron, Averil and Conrad, Lawrence I., eds, The Byzantine and Early Islamic East: Problems in the Literary Source Material (Princeton, NJ, 1992), 149–87, especially 157–9; Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius. An Alexandrian World Chronicle, ed. and transl. Garstad, Benjamin, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 14 (Cambridge, MA, 2012), 2139.

20 Alexander, Paul, ‘Byzantium and the Migration of Literary Works and Motifs: The Legend of the Last Roman Emperor’, Medievalia et Humanistica n.s. 2 (1971), 4768; Alexander, Paul, The Byzantine Apocalyptic Tradition, ed. Dorothy Abrahamse(Berkeley, CA, 1985).

21 Fredegar, , Chronica 4.66 (MGH SRM 2, 154).

22 Boniface, Epistola 73 (MGH Epp. Sel. 1, 151);Tolan, Saracens, 77-8.

23 Palmer, James T., Anglo-Saxons in a Frankish World, 690-900 (Turnhout, 2009), 124.

24 Coupland, Simon,‘The Rod of God's Wrath or the People of God's Wrath? The Carolingian Theology of the Viking Invasions’, JEH 42 (1991), 535–54.

25 Council of Meaux (846), c. 73 (MGH Cone. 3, 119-20); Council of Pitres (869), c. 15 (MGH Conc. 4, 360).

26 Council of Meaux (846), pref. (MGH Conc. 3, 82); Council of Quirzy (857; ibid. 385); Council of Quirzy (858), c. 15 (ibid. 423); Council ofTroyes (860/1), pref. (MGH Conc. 4, 44); Council of Pitres (869), c. 15 (ibid. 360).

27 Annales Bertiniani, s.a. 846 (MGH SRG i.u.s. 5, 34); Annales Fuldenses, s.a. 846 (MGH SRG i.u.s. 7, 36).

28 Council of Francia (846), c. 7 (MGH Conc. 3, I36):'quia pro peccatis nostris et offensionibus aecclesia beati Petri hoc anno a paganis vastata est a direpta'.

29 Council of Francia, c. 8 (ibid. 137).

30 Bachrach, Bernard, Early Medieval Jewish Policy in Western Europe (Ann Arbor, MI, 1977); Michael Toch, ‘The Jews in Europe, 500–1050’, in Fouracre, Paul, ed., The New Cambridge Medieval History, 1: c.500 - c.700 (Cambridge, 2005), 547-70; Bat-Sheva Albert,‘Christians and Jews’, in Noble, Thomas F. X. and Smith, Julia M. H., eds, CHC, 3: Early Medieval Christianities, c.600 - c.1100 (Cambridge, 2008), 157–77.

31 But again the ‘paganization’ of religious others could be an issue: Wolfram Drews, ‘Jews as Pagans? Polemical Definitions of Identity in Visigothic Spain’, EME II (2002), 189–207.

32 Baumgarten, Elisheva, ‘Daily Commodities and Religious Identity in the Medi eval Jewish Communities of Northern Europe’, in Doran, John, Methuen, Charlotte and Walsham, Alexandra, eds, Religion and the Household, SCH 50 (Woodbridge, 2014), 97121.

33 Clare Stancliffe, Bede, Wilfrid, and the Irish, Jarrow Lecture 2003 (Jarrow, 2003).

34 Brennan, Brian,‘The Conversion of the Jews of Clermont in AD 576’, Journal of Theological Studies 36 (1985), 321–37; Rachel Stocking,‘Early Medieval Christian Identity and Anti-Judaism: The Case of the Visigothic Kingdom’, Religion Compass 2 (2008), 642–58; Wood, Jamie, The Politics of Identity in Visigothic Spain: Religion and Power in the Histories of Isidore of Seville (Leiden, 2012), 195–208.

35 Albert, , ‘Christians and Jews’, 175–6. On the incident, see Reiss, Frank, ‘From Aachen to al-Andalus: The Journey of Deacon Bodo’, EME 13 (2005), 131–57.

36 On the situation in Lyon, see Heil, Johannes, ‘Agobard, Amolo, das Kirchengut und die Juden von Lyon’, Francia 25 (1998), 39–76.

37 Annales Bertiniani, s.a. 848 (MGH SRG i.u.s. 5, 66-7).

38 Continuator of Fredegar, Chronica 7 (MGH SRM 2, 172–3).

39 Fredegar, Chronica 87 (ibid. 164–5).

40 van Egmond, Wolfert, ‘Radbod van de Friezen, een aristocrat in de periferie’, Millennium: Tijdschrift voor middeleeuwse studies 16 (2005), 24–44.

41 Willibald, , Vita Bonifatii 4 (MGH SRG i.u.s. 57, 1617).

42 For more detail and context on the campaigns of Charles Martel discussed, see Paul Fouracre, The Age of Charles Martel (Harlow, 2000), 86–99; Fischer, Andreas, Karl Martell. Der Beginn karolingischer Herrschaft(Stuttgart, 2012), 110–36.

43 Continuator of Fredegar, Chronica 13 (MGH SRM 2, 175).

44 Cugnier, G., Histoire du monastere de Luxeuil a travers ses abbes 590–1790, 3 vols (Langres, 2003), 1: 238–9.

45 The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar with its Continuations, ed. and Michael, transl. J. Wallace-Hadrill, , Nelson's Medieval Texts (London, 1960), 91; see also Fischer, Karl Martell, 131.

46 Continuator of Fredegar, Chronica 19–20 (MGH SRM 2, 177–8).

47 Support for a political reading of infidelis can be gained from looking at the will of Abbo, edited and analysed in Geary, Patrick, Aristocracy in Provence:The Rhone Basin at the Dawn of the Carolingian Age (Stuttgart, 1985), 3879.

48 Tolan, John, ‘“A Wild Man, whose Hand will be against All”: Saracens and Ishmaelites in Latin Ethnographical Traditions, from Jerome to Bede’, in Pohl, Walter, Gantner, Clemens and Payne, Richard, eds, Visions of Community in the Post-Roman World (Farnham, 2012), 513–30.

49 Cf. Fischer, Karl Martell, 131–2.

50 Annales regni Francornm, s.aa. 801, 802 (MGH SRG i.u.s. 6, 116–17); Einhard, Vita Karoli 16 (MGH SRG i.u.s. 25, 19), on friendship.

51 See also Wood,‘Pagans and the Other’, 18.

52 Daniel, , Epistola 23 (MGH Epp. Sel. 1, 40).

53 The Cosmography of Aethicus Ister 33, ed. and transl. Herren, Michael, Publications of the Journal of Medieval Latin 8 (Turnhout, 2011), 34–5.

54 Keane, Webb, Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter (Berkeley, CA, 2007).

55 Ehlers, Caspar, Die Integration Sachsens in das fränkische Reich (751–1024) (Gottingen, 2007); Palmer, Anglo-Saxons, 166-8.

56 Hauck, Karl, ‘Paderborn: Das Zentrum von Karls Sachsen-Mission 777’, in Add and Kirche. Cerd Tellenbach zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Fleckenstein, Josef and Schmid, Karl (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1968), 92–140; McKitterick, Rosamond, Charlemagne: The Formation of a European Identity (Cambridge, 2008), 165–6.

57 Zacharias, Pope, Epistola 51 (MGH Epp. Sel. 1, 87).

58 On Viking Age towns, see Sindbaek, Soren, ‘Networks and Nodal Points: The Emergence ofTowns in Early Viking Age Scandinavia’, Antiquity 81 (2007), 119–32.

59 Palmer, Anglo-Saxons, 46–59.

60 Lebecq, Stéphane, Marchands et navigateurs frisons du haul Moyen Âge, 2 vols (Lille, 1983); Loveluck, Christopher, Northwest Europe in the Early Middle Ages, c.AD 600-1150 (Cambridge, 2013), ch. 9.

61 Fletcher, , Conversion of Europe, 373-4.

62 On a similar modern process, see Robbins, Joel, ‘Is the “Trans-” in “Transnational” the “Trans-” in “Transcendent“? On Alterity and the Sacred in the Age of Globalization’, in Csordas, Thomas, ed., Transnational Transcendence (Berkeley, CA, 2009), 5572.

63 On the exegetical contexts of the Vita Willibaldi, see Palmer, Anglo-Saxons, ch. 7; R. Aist.The Christian Topography of Early Islamic Jerusalem: The Evidence of Willibald of Eichstätt (700-787 CE) (Turnhout, 2009). On the events and context of 1009, see Lilie, Ralph-Johannes, ed., Konfliktbewältigung vor 1000 Jahren: Die Zerstörung der Grabes-kirche in Jerusalem im jahre 1009 (Berlin, 2011).

64 Vita Willibaldi 4 (MGH S 15/1, 94).

65 Ibid. 95.

66 Basel Roll 3, ed. McCormick, Michael, in idem, Charlemagne's Survey of the Holy Land: Wealth, Personnel, and the Building of a Mediterranean Church between Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Cambridge, MA, 2011), 216.

67 Tolan, , Saracens, 77.

68 Reinink, , ‘Pseudo-Methodius’, 180–1.

69 For a fuller discussion, see Palmer, James T., The Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2014), ch. 4.

70 Chronicle 0f 754 45 (CSM 1: 33); Clarke, Muslim Conquest, 17-18.

71 Chronica prophetica 2.2 ( Bonnaz, Yves, ed., Chroniques Asturiennes (fin IXe siècle)[Paris, 1987], 3).

72 Clarke, Muslim Conquest, 20–1. For interest in taxation, see Chronicle of 754 52, 60,75 (CSM 1: 36, 39, 51); Treaty ofTudmir, transl. Olivia Remie Constable, in eadem, ed., Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources, 2nd edn (Philadelphia, PA, 2012), 45-6. See also Collins, The Arab Conquest of Spain, 39-50.

73 Collins, Roger, Visigothic Spain, 2nd edn (Oxford, 2004), 186–96.

74 For a recent long-term view, see Hitchcock, Richard, Mozarabs in Medieval and Early Modern Spain: Identities and Influences(Aldershot, 2008).

75 See, in this volume, Ariana Patey, ‘Asserting Difference in Plurality: The Case of the Martyrs of Cordoba’, 53–66.

76 Wolf, Kenneth Baxter, Christian Martyrs in Muslim Spain (Cambridge, 1988).

77 Alvar, Paul, Indiculus luminosus (CSM 1: 270315); Vita Eulogii (ibid. 330–43).

78 Tolan, , Saracens, 90–1.

79 Wasilewski, Janna, ‘The “Life of Muhammad” in Eulogius of Cordoba: Some Evidence for the Transmission of Greek Polemic to the Latin West’, EME 16 (2008), 333–53.

80 On conversions of Jews, see n. 34 above.

81 Paschasius, , Expositio in Matheo II (CChr.CM 56B, 1164).

82 Palmer, James T., ‘Martyrdom and the Rise of Missionary Hagiography in the Merovingian World’, in Nancy Edwards, Roy Flechner and Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, Converting the Isles, Cultural Encouters in Late Antiquity and the Midde Ages (Turnhout, forthcoming).

83 Passio Dionysii, Rustici et Eleutherii (MGH AA 4/2, 101–5).

84 For a survey, see Ian Wood, The Missionary Life: Saints and the Evangelisation of Europe 400–1050 (Harlow, 2001).

85 Ibid. 250-4.

86 Audoin, , Vita Eligii 1.34 (MGH SRM 4, 691).

87 Wood,‘The Pagans and the Other’.

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