In the 820s, Bishop Frechulf of Lisieux compiled a history of ancient times which he offered, when complete, as a school book for the young prince Charles the Bald. The work ranks as the most expansive historiographical achievement of the Carolingian Age. Its peculiar terminus in A.D. 609 has spurred much commentary, and also made it easy to ignore the Histories as a mere compilation disconnected from contemporary events. Yet by his choice and adjustment of sources, Frechulf used the past as a 'mirror' to address the present. He crafted a vision of history that superseded Rome-centered political myths and, with much else, acutely asserted for a court readership Augustine's ambiguity about political and religious community within a monolithic Christian res publica. Until now, scholars have misread and misjudged Frechulf owing to the absence of a complete and accurate edition of his works. The new text of the Histories fills major gaps, documents recensional variants evidenced in the rich manuscript tradition, and maps in varied typography Frechulf's use and remaking of his sources. The present volume also includes Frechulf's letter-request to Hrabanus Maurus for commentary on the Pentateuch, and the bishop's prologue to his own important recension of Vegetius' Epitoma rei militaris, a second offering to Charles the Bald, which circulated widely and served as the basis for the Italian translation of Vegetius by Bono Giamboni (ca. 1240-ca. 1292).
"The edition of the works of Frechulf of Lisieux is a monumental
achievement. (...) Allen is to be lauded for his years of labour on
this edition, which has resulted in postponement of the publication
of interpretive studies, a course of action braved, in the current
academic climate, by very few young scholars."
(D. Lifshitz, in: The Journal of Medieval Latin, 14, 2004, p.
« L’analyse que Fréculf de Lisieux porte
sur l’Antiquité nous renvoie à
l’actualité politique de sa propre époque. Il
ne faut nul doute que la présente édition contribuera
grandement à une meilleure compréhension de la
pensée politique des lettrés
(Philippe Depreux, in : Francia, 31/1, 2004, p.
« Die sorgfältige und mustergültige
erschlossene Edition des für die karolingerzeitliche
Geschichtssicht so wichtigen Werkes eröffnet vielfältige
Perspektiven auf die weitere Erforschung eines umfangreichen
Textes. A. had der Forschung ein ‘opus magnum’ zur
Verfügung gestellt.. »
(Julian Führer, in : Mittellateinisches
Jahrbuch, 42, 2007, p. 297)