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Fathers and sons in a charter database: statistics and stories
Rachel Stone,King’sCollege London,IMC2015, Session313
So forthisand all otherstatistics,have todo some playingroundwithdatato pickup all the
fathersdie before they’re adults. Underarange of assumptions,youhave aroundone-thirdof
childrenwhose fatherhasdiedbythe ...
WBG 128 (773): SigibaldgrantspropertytoWissembourg,butretainsthe rightof afuture legitimate
son tobuy back the property:...
sonsconsentingto a father’sdonation and5 withfather/stepfatherconsentingtosons’transactions
(notall donations).8
for relatives isaloteasierthangettingthemtoconsentto a donation.Youdon’thave to gather
themtogetherorsenda scribe off to...
(S21) There are similarhintsof conflictsbetweensons overafather’sfavourina couple of other
Doesthismeanthat we’re still inthe periodof the “large”familyor clan?Notreally:when specific
relativesdogetmentioned inc...
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Fathers and sons in a charter database: statistics and stories


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Fathers and sons in a charter database: statistics and stories

  1. 1. 1 Fathers and sons in a charter database: statistics and stories Rachel Stone,King’sCollege London,IMC2015, Session313 (S1) In thispaper,talkingabout usingMakingof Charlemagne’sEurope charterdatabase tolookat rolesof fathers incharters familyemotionsincharters drawingbothon basicstatistical analysisandstoriesinindividual charters (S2) Sourcesfor earlymedievalfathersandsons:normative,narrative,documentary Most discussionsof fathersandsonsinCarolingianperiodrelyingonnormative ornarrative sources (S3) What are the advantagesof usingchartersfor studyingfathersandsons? 1) Wide spreadof texts:over3000 complete texts(excluding Lorsch) forCharlemagne’s reign,around 1300 German/Austria/Switzerland,1200-1300 Italy,400-450 France/Low Countries 2) How familiesworkinpractice,notjustideology 3) Look at familieslowerdownsocial spectrum,whomnarrative sourcesrarelydiscuss (S4) Backgroundon Making of Charlemagne’sEurope database AHRC-funded projectatKCL 2012-2014, buildingacharterdatabase royal and private chartersfrom768-814 web-basedpublicinterface (plusmore dataavailable viaback-endqueries) includes informationonfamilyrelationshipsandrolesintransactions (S5) So far 929 charters in the system– not complete butstill verylarge across mostof empire (S6) Lookingat familiesinthe database,there are immediateproblemswithsome of the statistics. One bigissue ishow the charters talkabout families: People describedasfathersincharters: 80 People describedassonsincharters:601 Doesn’tmeanaverage fatherhas7 or more sons,butreflectshow we inputdata. If a charter states that “X isson of Y”, we justrecordedthat, not that “Y is fatherof X”, because itwouldhave tootime- consuming. We’dhopedthe database couldgeneratethatinformationautomatically,butitturned out be too complicatedtodoso.
  2. 2. 2 So forthisand all otherstatistics,have todo some playingroundwithdatato pickup all the examples.Whenyoudo,findthatnumberof menindatabase overall shownasfathers =685.1 (S7) Difference betweennumbersof fathersand sonsrecordedalsoreflectsregional differences. Revealingtolookatbreakdownbycountry,usingslightlydifferentstatisticsof numbers of charters rather thannumberof people: No of charters mentioning place incountry No of charters mentioning fathersandplace in country No of charters mentioning sonsand place incountry Austria 83 15 9 Belgium 18 5 1 France 211 41 21 Germany 330 60 72 Italy 315 16 208 Luxembourg 5 1 8 Netherlands 16 2 8 Switzerland 14 1 8 Turkey 1 0 0 Spain 1 0 1 (Click) Asyou’ll see,there are adisproportionatenumberof sons inItaly.Why?Because sonsare identifiedby theirfather’sname inItalianchartersandnot generally elsewhere. Needtobe aware howmuch differenttraditionsof diplomaticaffectthe datawe getfromcharters aboutfamily relationships. Fathers in charters: dead providers (S8) So that’san overviewof the datawe’re workingwith.Now forsome of the details.One of the interesting pointsIrealisedwhenanalysingthe dataishow manyof the fathersmentionedin chartersare deadby the time charter waswritten 336 fatherssaidtobe dead (8 + 328) – justunderhalf. Why all the deadfathers?Isthissimplybecause sonsnormally onlyinheritpropertyon theirfather’s death,sothat theydon’tshowup incharters until then? But there are some fathersconsentingtotransactions thattheirsons have made,andwe alsoget toldaboutbothlivingfathersanddeadfathersof witnesses.Sothese deadfathersare significant. (S9) It’s worth lookingatRoman demographics,because there have beenseveral recentstudies lookingspecifically atdeadfathers.2 Andwhattheyshow isveryhighlevelsof childrenwhose 1 Made up of 80 people describedasfathersinARFfroma charter and611 male people whohave children(appearas Male 2nd person inARFwithrelationship type =5 (child),6(son),49 (daughter)). Overlapof twogroups = 9 people.
  3. 3. 3 fathersdie before they’re adults. Underarange of assumptions,youhave aroundone-thirdof childrenwhose fatherhasdiedbythe time they’re 15and aroundhalf by the time the childis25.3 (S10): Howdoesthiscompare withthe earlyMiddle Ages? RichardSaller’s modelisfundamental, but hisassumptionshave beendisputed.Butit’srevealingtoconsiderhismost conservative estimatesforpaternal death, using‘senatorial level6’assumptions,withthe mean age of marriage as 15 for women,25 for men, andlife-expectancyatbirth of 32.5 years.It’sunlikelythatlife expectancywas muchhigherinthe earlyMiddle Ages,andasthe examplesshow, itmayhave been as much as 10 yearslower.4 We don’tknow the age at firstmarriage, apart froma few royal examples,whichmaybe atypical,butit’sdifficulttosee fertile marriages occurringmuchearlier than Saller’s estimates,especiallysince pubertymayhave beendelayedbypoordiet. Whateverthe exactstatistics,anydiscussionof father-sonrelationships needstoconsiderthatthey may have beenlesscommonandshorterthaninmoderntimes. (S11) We were hopingtofindoutmore aboutinheritance patternsfromthe Charlemagne database, but inthat respectourcharters overall were disappointing.Only61charters included specificdetails of whichpropertywasinheritedfromwhom. Mostof what we foundwas veryvague phrases: “anythingIhave from paternal ormaternal inheritance”orreferencestosomeone’s“share” portiona mea or hereditas (S12) However,insome individual charters,didget evidence forcomplex patternsof family inheritance. Forexample inMondsee 48,Hunostates: “I give to St Michael [Mondsee] myselfandmyshare whichmy fatherputaside forme in Köstendorf,whichIhadas myportionagainst(?) my sonsand I have to thisday.”5 The team’sconclusion,basedoncomparisonswithotherMondsee charters, wasthatthisprobably meantthat Huno’sfatherhad dividedthe inheritance betweenHunoandsome of Huno’ssons. (S13) We can alsosee complex variationsonfuture provisionforfamilies.Forexample,take three chartersfrom Wissembourg,whichstate: 2 Richard P.Saller, Patriarchy, property and death in the Roman family (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1994); Walter Scheidel,'The demographic background',in SabineR. Hübner and David M. Ratzan (eds.), Growing up fatherless in antiquity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,2009) 3 Saller ordinary:mean age of firstmarriage20 for women, 30 for men, mean female lifeexpectancy 25; senatorial:mean ages of marriage15/25,mean lifeexpectancy 25 or 32.5 4 A. Cipriano-Bechtle,G. Grupe, and P Schröter, 'Ageing and lifeexpectancy in the early MiddleAges', Homo 46 (1996),273; Robin Fleming, 'Bones for historians:puttingthe body back into biography',in David Bates, Julia Crick,and Sarah Hamilton (eds.), Writing medieval biography: essays in honour of Professor Frank Barlow (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell,2006), p. 39 5 “donavi ad sanctumMichahelemme ipsumvel meam partem, quod mihi pater meus dimisitin Chessindorf, quod ego in portionem meam contra filios meos tuli et ego abui in ipsa diae.”
  4. 4. 4 WBG 128 (773): SigibaldgrantspropertytoWissembourg,butretainsthe rightof afuture legitimate son tobuy back the property: “si filiumgenuerode legitimauxore” WBG 79 (c. 790) Helphantgivespropertyto Wissembourgbutretainsthe usufruct,bothforhimself and forany future sons“si filiosprocreauerim” WBG 19 (808) Arbiogives propertytoWissembourgandreceivesitbackas a precarial grant for himself andhischildren,OdoandEugenia Are such variantsjusta matter of diplomaticandthe vagariesof Latinor do theypossiblysay somethingabouthowfathers(orpotential fathers) thoughtof theirchildren? Theydosuggestthat sonsand specificallylegitimate sonswerewhatwere imagined,butthat fathersinpractice wanted to care for actual daughtersas well assons. (S14) These future provisionsincharterswere the hardestto recordsystematically inthe database. Here’sa particularlycomplex statementwe foundfromFreisingandourattemptsat translatingit: I, Wurmhard...myinheritance aftermydeath...oughttobelongtothe church of the immaculate virginMary...if mymotherletsgobreathbefore the endof mylife andIhave not generatedchildren;butif itshouldhappenthateithermymotherormyown child shouldsurvive mydecease,athirdpart isto be keptforthe church, and aftertheirdeaththe restthat is overisto be givenpiecemealtothatsingle church.6 I’mnot sure how successful we were atcapturing suchdetailsinthe database,butthey are revealing aboutthe desire of some fathersorpotential fathersto stayin control of eventsaftertheirdeath. Andagain there are interestinghintshere abouthow uncertainfamilylife couldbe.Giftsare givento holyplacesonlytobe possiblyretracted;the needforthe saint’ssupportcan’twaitina worldwhere your mothermightsurvive youbutany future children youhave mightnot. (S15) One aspectof familiesinchartersthathas beenexplored,mostnotablybyStephenWhite,is the role of relativesinconsentingtograntsof property.7 White arguedthatthe laudatio parentum was uncommonbefore 1000. Our chartersconfirmthat: only 78 chartersof anytype mention consenters.Those thatconsentare a mix of relatives andunrelatedhigh-statusmen;we have 6with 6 (p.69), FRE41 'ego Vurmhartdivine munerisconcessionepropriamhereditatempostobitummeum, si genetrixmea ante finemmeumvitalememitteritflatumetsi sobolesnongenuissem, postdiesmeosfunditus substantiamearesinquisitas adintemerate virginisMariae ecclesiaeRotae fluminissitae ripae pertinere debuisset; si autemmeae decessisse etgenetrice autinfantepropriosupervixisse contigerit,tertiaparsecclesiae conteneatur,eorumpostobitumreliquequae fuerintsupra membratimecclesiae soli dentur.' 7 Stephen D. White, Custom, kinship, and gifts to saints: the laudatio parentum in western France, 1050-1150 (Chapel Hill:University of North Carolina Press,1988)
  5. 5. 5 sonsconsentingto a father’sdonation and5 withfather/stepfatherconsentingtosons’transactions (notall donations).8 Thataspectof associatingone’srelativeswithatransactiondoesn’tseemto be significantinthe Carolingianperiod. (S16) But we alsorecordedinformationaboutanotheraspectof familylife thatcanpotentiallytake us towardslookingatemotionswithinfamilies.Intransaction,whoare the spiritual beneficiaries: whomdo transactors ask to be prayedfor or remembered? We have 192 charterswhich include referencestosomeoneotherthanthe donorbeing prayedforor remembered. The vastmajorityof these are donationstomonasteries,althoughwe’ve alsogot 2 saleswhichinclude spiritual beneficiaries(CDL2:225, SFL 22), thus provingonce again thatour neat categoriesof donationsand salesdon’talwaysworkinpractice. In these 192 charters,we have 168 individualsorgroups,since some getprayedforinmultiple charters,and of these we have 90 individualmenand 42 individual women. (S17) In some case the charter doesn’tsaywhatthe relationshipis,butof those we do,we have: 13 fathersonlybeingprayedfor 6 mothersonly 10 fatherand mothertogether 4 groupsof ancestors 16 groupsof “parentes”(whichmightindicateparentsorkinmore widely) In otherwords,commemoration andmemorialisation isn’tjustof the paternal line (S18) It’salsorevealingtolookatchildrenasspiritual beneficiaries.We have alarge numberof royal diplomaswhere Charlemagnestatesthathischildrenare tobe prayedfor: 50 forChildrengenerally (ID224), more than a quarter of all hischarters, plus2 withprayersspecificallyforPippinof Italy (DKAR1:202, 208). In contrast,such prayersare rare in private charters: we’ve found 11where sonsare prayedfor,2 where daughtersare,4 where childrengenerallyare. 9 Worthrememberingthatrequiringprayers 8 Sons FRE 30, Alberic,son of granter FRE 44, Charles,son of granter FRE 48, Silvester,son consenting to precarial grant MRH 39: anonymous son consentingto grant REG 2 anonymous sons of Opi consentingto grant WER 4: Maginhard,son of granter Fathers CHLA 23:750 Opteris,stepfather, consenting to sale CHLA 61:17 Bassacus,father,consent to receipt of livellus CRE 4: Benignus father, consenting to sale FRE 39, father Cello,consenting to grant FRE 72, Toto, father, consentingto grant 9 Sons
  6. 6. 6 for relatives isaloteasierthangettingthemtoconsentto a donation.Youdon’thave to gather themtogetherorsenda scribe off to record theirconsent,youjustneed anextraline ortwoin the charter.On thismeasure,itlooksasif Charlemagne isone of the few Frankishfathersreally concernedaboutthe continuationof his paternal line. (S19) Of the fatherswhodo want prayersfortheirchildren,anumberof themare fordeadchildren: 5 outof the 17 charters for suchprayersconcerneddeadsonsor daughters,includingone heartbreakingcharterfromTuscany.That’sa donationbyAscolfustoSt Stephen’sOileforhissoul and that of his parentes and “forthat little childAppohimself,whowe buriedinthe same place,at the church itself”10 (S20) But some chartersalsoshowus more ambivalent attitudesbetweenfathersandsons.One of the deadsons whoiscommemoratedisa BavariancalledKeparohun,murderedinaconflictaround 774. In FRE 65 his fatherOnolfusreportshow he haslosthis“beloved Keparohan, asif myonlyson”, so that “deprivedof himIremainwithmyonlysoncalledRodoin”11 Onolf givesthe familychurchto Freising,butaddsthatif Rodoinbecomesacleriche shouldpossessthischurch duringhislifetime and pray forhisfather,motherandbrother.But he also includesprovisions if Rodoin “shouldneglect to raise priestly thanksgivings”.12 Isthisextraclause justincase Rodoindoesn’tbecome apriestoris there alsothe possibilityhintedatthatRodoinmay nothave appreciatedbeingverymuchsecond- bestto hisdeadbrother? CHLA 61:20 = CDA 72 – Appo, dead infant son of Ascolf FAR 2:176 Peter & Paul,dead sons of Liuderisius FRE 54 Gunzo, son of Helmbert FRE 65 – Keparohun murdered son of Aunulf and Albswind FRE 69: sons of Ricbald 7380 FRE 72 – Scrot, dead son of Toto MON 115 – Maginhard son of Maginrad (PAS 37) – spiritual benefitfrom son being handed over SFL 22 – Adalbert & Starcholf,sons of vendor WBG 85 – Autbert son of Gozbert WER 27 Bosoconis –murdered son of Thancgrim Daughters PAS 34, Anonymous daughter of Maginhard WER 20 Swanaburg, dead daughter of Snellhard Children FRE 79, Helmwin 7068 FRE 84, Pircho 7761 MON 12, Magilo 1039 MON 112 – Poso 1674 10 CHLA 61:20 (812): pro ipsuminfantulu nomine Appo, qem nos ividem ad ipsa ecclesia sepellimus 11 (p Ego Onolfus...dilectumet quasi unicumKeparohun amisi filiumlatrociniisinsidieinteremptum a quo orbatus remansi cum unico Hrodino filio vocabulo 12 ad honorem si [Rodoin] accesserit...possedeat praedictumpatrimoniumintercessor genitori matrique et germani adsistat...Sin autem nostris impetirededierit delictis,utsublimaresacerdotalisneglexeritgratibus...” impetere = to attack, accuse,call to account,claim,demand, require)
  7. 7. 7 (S21) There are similarhintsof conflictsbetweensons overafather’sfavourina couple of other Freisingchartersfromaroundthe same time. These concernthe wonderfullynamedScrot,who died prematurelyandonhisdeath-bedin776, leftpropertytoFreisingforhissoul.Thisdonationwas confirmedaweeklaterby hisfatherToto.On same day Wago, Scrot’sbrother,donatestoFreising for himself,hisfatherandancestors(“tamprome pro genitore vel prodecessoris”), butnotablynot for Scrot’ssoul.13 A year later,meanwhile,there’sanothercharterconcerningadispute between Toto’sremainingsonsandtheirfather,alongwithhisnew wife Osperga; afamilyagreementhadto be brokered byDuke Tassilo.14 Atthissocial level,father-sondisputescouldbecomeamatterfor princes. (S22) Occasionally,we cansee hintsof multi-generational tensions.A charterfromthe Sienaarchive from777 has WalderanfromCosunapromising propertytohissonRado,because he’sdone so much forhimin hisoldage andalwaysbeenobedient; Rado’sgiven“betterandmore service”than Walderan’sgranddaughters,the daughtersof hisdeadsonInsunus.15 However,these grand- daughtersstill getashare of Walderan’sproperty;hadRado’sdevotedservice reallychangedthe amounthe was due to inherit,orwashisfathermerelytryingtobutterhimup? (S23) Charterscan give ustantalisingglimpsesof familyaffectionandtensions,butwe rarelygetall the detailswe’dliketohave. Evenso, we getinsights thatwe can’t getelsewhere.Some aspects seemfamiliar,suchasfathers’concerntoprovide fortheirchildrenand forsonsinparticular. Normative sourcesare full of demandsforfatherstolove theirsonsandsonsto obeytheirfathers; theyalsoaccept the kindof favouritismtowardsaparticularsonseeninsome of the Freising charters.Conflictswithinfamilies are alsofamiliarfromotherCarolingian sources. But the charters alsosuggestthatfather-sonbondsmayhave beenlessstrongthanyoumight expectina patriarchal society. Fromaround800, the Carolingianroyal family werekeentostress theirpaternal line ancestors.16 The charterevidence suggeststhatthiswasn’tapriorityforother familiesinthe late eighthandearlyninthcenturies. EveninItaly,withitsregularrecordingof names of men’sfathers, memorialisationdidn’tfocuson agnaticrelatives. 13 FRE 72 14 FRE 86. Warren Brown, Unjust seizure: conflict, interest, and authority in an early medieval society (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,2001),p. 54 pointed out how many important noblemen witnessed this agreement, includingVirgil,thebishop of Salzburg. 15 CHLA 24:756 = CDA 29 “tu Rado, filiusmeus,mihi in mea senecta multa erga inpendere visus estin omnibus mihi semper obediens es; propterea volo, ut omnem tuo conquesitumaut lavoratumpost decessum meo abere diveas,absqueportionem nepotem meorum, que sunt filiequondamInsunu,qui fuitfilius meus,quia melior et amplius tuus Radoni cognosceservitiumquam de nepotis mee”. This may draw on Lombard legal norms which allowgivinga preferential shareto a favoured child: CristinaLa Rocca,'Multas amaritudines filius meus mihi fecit. Conflitti intrafamiliari nell'Italialongobarda(secolo VIII)', Mélanges de l'Ecole française de Rome 111 (1999) describes a casewhere such norms were adapted to disinherita son. 16 Constance B. Bouchard, 'The Carolingian creation of a model of patrilineage',in Celia Chazelleand Felice Lifshitz(eds.), Paradigms and methods in early medieval studies (Basingstoke:PalgraveMacmillan,2007)
  8. 8. 8 Doesthismeanthat we’re still inthe periodof the “large”familyor clan?Notreally:when specific relativesdogetmentioned incharters,they’re overwhelminglyclose ones:there are almostno cousinsinour database,forexample.Instead,itmay have more todo with“fractured”familiesand the constant disruptiontoa patrilineal consciousness arisingfromprematurelydeadfathersand sons.What may reallyhave been distinctive aboutthe Carolingianroyal familywasthe numberof kinglyfatherswhosurviveduntil theirsonswere well intoadulthoodand the resultantdifficulty that royal sonshad in dealingwithlivingfathersratherthandeadones.