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Fathers and sons in a
charter database:
statistics and stories
Rachel Stone, King’s College London
rachel.stone@kcl.ac.uk
Sources for Frankish father-son relationships
• Normative sources: law-codes, conciliar acta,
moral treatises
• Narrative ...
Using charters for studying fathers and sons
• Large number of them, spread out through
empire
• Family practice rather th...
Making of Charlemagne’s Europe - project
• AHRC-funded project 2012-2014: KCL History
and Digital Humanities departments
•...
MKCHEUR charter source base
929 charters
from across the
empire
Family analysis: data problems
• People described as fathers in charters: 80
• People described as sons in charters: 601
•...
Family analysis: regional differences
No of charters mentioning
country
No of charters mentioning
fathers and country
No o...
Dead fathers
• 685 fathers in our charters
• 336 said to be dead at time charter written = 49%
• Inheritance only on fathe...
Dead fathers:
Roman
evidence
Saller (1994)
& Scheidel
(2009): c.
one-third of
Roman
fathers dead
by child aged
15, one-hal...
Early medieval demography
• Saller ‘senatorial level 6’ assumptions
• Mean age of marriage 15 (women), 25 (men), life-expe...
Patterns of inheritance
• 61 charters (7%) with specific evidence on
inheritance
• More often formulaic/vague
• “anything ...
Complex patterns of inheritance
• MON 48 (740-829), Huno “donavi ad sanctum
Michahelem me ipsum vel meam partem, quod mihi...
Future provision: sons and children
• WBG 128 (773) Sigibald grants property to Wissembourg,
but retains the right of a fu...
Future provision: multiple choices
• FRE 41 (771) “ego Vurmhart...propriam hereditatem post
obitum meum, si genetrix mea a...
Consenting
• 78 charters (8%) mention consenters
• 6 with sons consenting to father’s donation
• 5 with father/stepfather ...
Family emotions: spiritual beneficiaries
• 192 charters (21%) where someone other than
the donor is prayed for/remembered
...
Spiritual beneficiary: parents
• 13 fathers only being prayed for
• 6 mothers only
• 10 father and mother together
• 4 gro...
Spiritual beneficiaries: children
• 181 Carolingian royal diplomas
• 50 with prayers for Charlemagne’s children generally
...
Dead children
• 5/17 (non-Carolingian) fathers having prayers for dead
children
• CHLA 61:20 (812): donation by Ascolfus t...
Family conflict? Keporah and Rodoin
FRE 65 (774) : “Ego Onolfus...dilectum et quasi unicum Keparohun
amisi filium latrocin...
Family conflict? Scrot and Wago
• FRE 72a (776):
• Scrot donates to Freising on death-bed for his soul
• donation confirme...
Family harmony? Walderan and Rado
• CHLA 24:756 (777)
• “tu Rado, filius meus, mihi in mea senecta multa erga inpendere
vi...
Fathers in charters: how distinctive?
• Father as provider
• Love and obedience
• Family tensions
• Lack of patrilineages
...
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Fathers and sons in a charter database: statistics and stories

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Presentation from International Medieval Congress, Leeds 2015

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Fathers and sons in a charter database: statistics and stories

  1. 1. Fathers and sons in a charter database: statistics and stories Rachel Stone, King’s College London rachel.stone@kcl.ac.uk
  2. 2. Sources for Frankish father-son relationships • Normative sources: law-codes, conciliar acta, moral treatises • Narrative sources: histories, poetry, polemical works • Documentary sources: charters, polyptychs, letters
  3. 3. Using charters for studying fathers and sons • Large number of them, spread out through empire • Family practice rather than simply ideology • Allows looking at non-royal/non-noble fathers and sons
  4. 4. Making of Charlemagne’s Europe - project • AHRC-funded project 2012-2014: KCL History and Digital Humanities departments • Royal and private charters from Frankish empire for 768-814 • Online database: www.charlemagneseurope.ac.uk
  5. 5. MKCHEUR charter source base 929 charters from across the empire
  6. 6. Family analysis: data problems • People described as fathers in charters: 80 • People described as sons in charters: 601 • Average father has 7 or more sons? • “Prando, filiu quondam Teudiperto” (CDA 49) recorded as “Prando is son of Teudipert” • End up with 685 known fathers
  7. 7. Family analysis: regional differences No of charters mentioning country No of charters mentioning fathers and country No of charters mentioning sons and country 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
  8. 8. Dead fathers • 685 fathers in our charters • 336 said to be dead at time charter written = 49% • Inheritance only on father’s death? • Some living fathers mentioned
  9. 9. Dead fathers: Roman evidence Saller (1994) & Scheidel (2009): c. one-third of Roman fathers dead by child aged 15, one-half by age 25
  10. 10. Early medieval demography • Saller ‘senatorial level 6’ assumptions • Mean age of marriage 15 (women), 25 (men), life-expectancy at birth 32.5 years • Cipriano-Bechtle, Grupe & Schroeter (1996) • Wenigumstadt, Bavaria, 5th-8th century: life-expectancy at birth 34 years • Fleming (2006) • Raunds Furnells, Northamptonshire, 10th-11th century: life expectancy at birth 21.8 years
  11. 11. Patterns of inheritance • 61 charters (7%) with specific evidence on inheritance • More often formulaic/vague • “anything I have from paternal or maternal inheritance” • portiona mea, hereditas
  12. 12. Complex patterns of inheritance • MON 48 (740-829), Huno “donavi ad sanctum Michahelem me ipsum vel meam partem, quod mihi pater meus dimisit in Chessindorf, quod ego in portionem meam contra filios meos tuli et ego abui in ipsa diae.” • I give to St Michael [Mondsee] myself and my share which my father put aside for me in Koestendorf, which I had as my portion against (?) my sons and I have to this day.
  13. 13. Future provision: sons and children • WBG 128 (773) Sigibald grants property to Wissembourg, but retains the right of a future legitimate son to buy back the property (“si filium genuero de legitima uxore”) • WBG 79 (c. 790) Helphant gives property to Wissembourg but retains the usufruct, for himself and any future sons (“si filios procreauerim”) • WBG 19 (808) Arbio gives property to Wissembourg and receives it back as a precarial grant for himself and his children, Odo and Eugenia
  14. 14. Future provision: multiple choices • FRE 41 (771) “ego Vurmhart...propriam hereditatem post obitum meum, si genetrix mea ante finem meum vitalem emitterit flatum et si soboles non genuissem, post dies meos funditus substantia mea...ad intemerate virginis Mariae ecclesiae...pertinere debuisset; si autem meae decessisse et genetrice aut infante proprio supervixisse contigerit, tertia pars ecclesiae conteneatur, eorum post obitum relique quae fuerint supra membratim ecclesiae soli dentur.”
  15. 15. Consenting • 78 charters (8%) mention consenters • 6 with sons consenting to father’s donation • 5 with father/stepfather consenting to sons’ transactions (not all donations)
  16. 16. Family emotions: spiritual beneficiaries • 192 charters (21%) where someone other than the donor is prayed for/remembered • 168 individuals/groups – some get prayed for in multiple charters • 90 individual men, 42 individual women
  17. 17. Spiritual beneficiary: parents • 13 fathers only being prayed for • 6 mothers only • 10 father and mother together • 4 groups of ancestors • 16 groups of “parentes”
  18. 18. Spiritual beneficiaries: children • 181 Carolingian royal diplomas • 50 with prayers for Charlemagne’s children generally (28%) • 2 for Pippin of Italy specifically • 734 private charters • 11 with prayers for sons (1.5%) • 2 for daughters • 4 for children generally
  19. 19. Dead children • 5/17 (non-Carolingian) fathers having prayers for dead children • CHLA 61:20 (812): donation by Ascolfus to St Stephen’s Oile for his soul and that of his parentes and “pro ipsum infantulu nomine Appo, qem nos ividem ad ipsa ecclesia sepellimus”
  20. 20. Family conflict? Keporah and Rodoin FRE 65 (774) : “Ego Onolfus...dilectum et quasi unicum Keparohun amisi filium latrociniis insidie interemptum a quo orbatus remansi cum unico Hrodino filio vocabulo” “ad honorem si [Rodoin] accesserit... possedeat praedictum patrimonium intercessor genitori matrique et germani adsistat...Sin autem nostris impetire dedierit delictis, ut sublimare sacerdotalis neglexerit gratibus...”
  21. 21. Family conflict? Scrot and Wago • FRE 72a (776): • Scrot donates to Freising on death-bed for his soul • donation confirmed a week later by father Toto • Wago, Scrot’s brother, donates to Freising “tam pro me pro genitore vel prodecessoris” • FRE 86 (777): • Agreement by Toto and Osperga, (new wife) with remaining sons, Cundhard, Rato and Wago, and with Freising
  22. 22. Family harmony? Walderan and Rado • CHLA 24:756 (777) • “tu Rado, filius meus, mihi in mea senecta multa erga inpendere visus est in omnibus mihi semper obediens es; propterea volo, ut omnem tuo conquesitum aut lavoratum post decessum meo abere diveas, absque portionem nepotem meorum, que sunt filie quondam Insunu, qui fuit filius meus, quia melior et amplius tuus Radoni cognosce servitium quam de nepotis mee”
  23. 23. Fathers in charters: how distinctive? • Father as provider • Love and obedience • Family tensions • Lack of patrilineages • Fractured families • Carolingians atypical?

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