Carolingian Europe, c.750-900 (6AAH3023/24)

Printed materials

The topics covered by Carolingian Europe will involve you using many of the Senate House Library research collections, but a very good place to start is with political histories of the Carolingian period. You will find most of these in medieval French history within the  classmark range MSD-MSDP, including The Carolingian World by  Marios Costambeys, Matthew Innes and Simon MacLean at 63 MSD Cos. In this area you will also find biographies of Charlemagne, Louis the Pious, and Charles the Bald. However as the Carolingian Empire also included Germany you will also find some material in medieval German history at MHBC, including any biographies of Louis the German. The history of Italy during the Carolingian period can be found at MFP.

The general medieval history section, books in the classmark range MB, will also provide you with useful material for your research. As well as general histories of the period, you will also find books on specific themes in medieval history such as feudalism, warfare, towns, medieval civilization and queenship. However books about kingship can be found in the politics section at RBG. The politics section is also where you will find books on medieval political thought generally at R8C.

Material on specific themes of Carolingian history such as economic, social and cultural aspects can be found in the French thematic history section, MR e.g. MRHB is French medieval social history and MRIB is French medieval intellectual history. Amongst the books you will find here is Carolingian culture: emulation and innovation edited by Rosamund Mckitterick. However specific aspects of Carolingian culture such as art and literature can be found in the relevant research collections.

Religious history can be found in the gallery in between the fifth floor history collection and the periodicals room at 63 P, including 63 PRA3f  for the history of the Catholic church in France,  (although don’t ignore 63 MRKB., Check out the following book, A Sacred Kingdom: Bishops and the rise of Frankish kingship). Books on Alcuin can be found at 63 PRA4 A34, and books on Western monasticism at 63 PWC. However you may also find the  general theology collection at 3 P of use to you as well, and the history of the papacy can be found at 63 ME.

Primary sources

Senate House library holds English translations of many of the significant primary sources for this period. These include Two Lives of Charlemagne (Einhard and Notker), and various editions of annals, such as The Annals of St Bertin, and the recently published The divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga: Hincmar of Rheim's De divortio. Some of the primary sources can be found in collected editions of sources, such as The Reign of Charlemagne: documents of Carolingian government and administration complied by Henry Loyn. Most of the primary sources will be integrated into the relevant main history sequence.

However you will also find some relevant primary sources in the palaeography collection, particularly collections of charters and documents, such as the Chartae latinae antiquiories. Palaeography also contains useful works on the documentary culture: Documentary culture and the laity in the early middle ages. 

If you cannot find a book on the main catalogue, and it was published pre 1980, then please check our online Card Catalogue. This is a record of any of our pre 1980 holdings not yet available on the main Catalogue. This includes material from collections of primary sources such as Chartes et diplomes and Collection de textes pour servir à l'étude et à l'enseignement de l'histoire.

Journals and eresources

Senate House Library has a large collection of history journals. Bound volumes are  held in the stack and need to be requested but many are also available online such as Early medieval Europe. Ejournals will be listed on the catalogue with the print copies. You have access to most of the library’s electronic resources from home and all of the resources while here in the library. All you need to do is enter your name and library identification barcode when prompted.

You can access our online databases the same way, either by searching the catalogue or accessing the list of history related databases on the history page of the website. One you may find useful is the International medieval bibliography.

When you are searching databases and library catalogues, it might be useful to know the most frequently used controlled vocabulary, or search terms. Some Library of Congress Subject Authorities for your topic are: Carolingians, Charlemagne emperor 742 814.

If you have any questions about the above information, please email me and just identify which King’s course you are taking. Best of luck with your dissertation.