Annales Fuldenses

Annales Fuldenses

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The Annales Fuldenses or Annals of Fulda are East Frankish chronicles that cover independently the period from the last years of Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

 (died 840) to shortly after the end of effective Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

 rule in East Francia with the accession of the child-king, Louis III
Louis the Child
Louis the Child , sometimes called Louis IV or Louis III, was the last Carolingian ruler of East Francia....

, in 900. Throughout this period they are a near contemporary record of the events they describe and a primary source for Carolingian historiography. They are usually read as a counterpart to the narrative found in the West Frankish Annales Bertiniani
Annales Bertiniani
Annales Bertiniani, or The Annals of St. Bertin, are late Carolingian, Frankish annals that were found in the monastery of St. Bertin, after which they are named. Their account is taken to cover the period 830-82, thus continuing the Royal Frankish Annals , from which, however, it has circulated...


Authorship and manuscripts

The Annals were composed at the Abbey of Fulda in Franconia
Franconia is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Tauberfranken...

. A note in one manuscript has been taken to prove that the entries down to 838 were composed by Einhard
Einhard was a Frankish scholar and courtier. Einhard was a dedicated servant of Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious; his main work is a biography of Charlemagne, the Vita Karoli Magni, "one of the most precious literary bequests of the early Middle Ages."-Public life:Einhard was from the eastern...

 (Enhard in the MS), yet it has been convincingly argued that this might only have been a copyist's colophon
Colophon was a city in the region of Lydia in antiquity dating from about the turn of the first millennium-BC. It was likely one the oldest of the twelve Ionian League cities, between Lebedos and Ephesus and its ruins are in the eponymously named modern region of Ionia.The city's name comes from...

 that has abusively entered the manuscript tradition, a sort of accident far from uncommon in medieval scriptoria. Be that as it may, a second note sets on more solid grounds the attribution of the annals down to 864 to Rudolf of Fulda
Rudolf of Fulda
Rudolf of Fulda was a monk of the Benedictine monastery of Fulda, writer, theologian and teacher. He was a pupil of Rhabanus Maurus and befriended Louis the Pious, king of the Franks...

, whose manuscript, though not conserved, is mentioned in independent sources and has left traces in the tradition. Some scholars believe that the whole work was first put together by an unknown compiler only in the 870s. It has also been suggested that they were continued after 864 by Meinhard, but very little is known of this continuator of Rudolf's work. However, already after 863 the three (Kurze) or two (Hellman) manuscript groups of the Annals break off into different overlapping versions, continuing Rudolf's work down to 882 (or 887) and 896 (or 901). The two alleged principal extensions have been styled the "Mainz" and "Bavarian" continuations respectively. The Mainz version shows strong links with the circle of Liutbert, Archbishop of Mainz
Liutbert, Archbishop of Mainz
Liutbert was the Archbishop of Mainz from 863 until his death. He also became Abbot of Ellwangen in 874 and is reckoned the first Archchancellor of Germany...

, and is written from a Franconian perspective and are partisan to Liutbert and the kings he served. The Bavarian continuation was probably written in Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

 until 896 and thereafter in Niederalteich
Niederalteich is a village on the Danube in Bavaria. Germany. It is best known as the location of Niederaltaich Abbey....

. A new edition is eagerly awaited.


The years 714 to 830 are largely based on the Royal Frankish Annals
Royal Frankish Annals
The Royal Frankish Annals or Annals of the Kingdom of the Franks ,are annals covering the history of early Carolingian monarchs from 741 to 829. Their composition seems to have soon been taken up at court, providing them with markedly official character...

(741–829) and the Annals of Lorsch (703–803, including continuations). After that date the Annals of Fulda are relatively independent.


The events recorded in the annals include the death of Louis the Pious and the subsequent dividing of the Frankish Empire into three parts at the Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun
The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty between the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne, which divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms...

. After 860, the annals focus mainly on events in eastern Francia and on its king Louis the German
Louis the German
Louis the German , also known as Louis II or Louis the Bavarian, was a grandson of Charlemagne and the third son of the succeeding Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious and his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye.He received the appellation 'Germanicus' shortly after his death in recognition of the fact...

 and his sons. It also describes in some detail the raids conducted by the Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

s in the Frankish Empire from 845 onwards. Other events recorded in the annals include various 'miraculous' events such as comets, earthquakes and disease. The annals end in 901, a year after the succession of Louis the Child.


Along with the Annales Bertiniani
Annales Bertiniani
Annales Bertiniani, or The Annals of St. Bertin, are late Carolingian, Frankish annals that were found in the monastery of St. Bertin, after which they are named. Their account is taken to cover the period 830-82, thus continuing the Royal Frankish Annals , from which, however, it has circulated...

(Annals of Saint-Bertin, the West Frankish narratives of the same events), the Annals of Fulda are the principal historical primary source for ninth-century Carolingian studies.