Early saxon frontier warfare: Henry I, Otto I, and Carolingian military institutions

Bernard S. Bachrach, David Bachrach

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Introduction For more than a century, specialists in medieval German history have labored diligently to establish a Sonderweg or special route for the history of the early medieval German kingdom. These efforts have focused, in their initial phase, on distinguishing and distancing the institutions of the Saxon monarchy (919-1024) in Francia orientalis from those of the French kingdom, i.e., Francia occidentalis. While often recognizing continuity between Carolingian institutions in the West into the tenth century and beyond, specialists in the history of the German lands have tried either to deny or to diminish the supposed role of continuity and even influence of their mutual Carolingian predecessors on the development of Francia orientalis. According to specialists in this period of German history, the early Saxon kingdom was not an heir to secular institutions of Carolingian origin. Rather, all important aspects of governance are seen to have been based upon personal ties (Personenverbände) between the king and the great men of the regnum. In this context, royal “friendship” or amicitia with the great nobles was the technique used by the Saxon kings to rule over their kingdom. The concomitant argument is that the Ottonian kingdom did not possess a central administration (Verwaltung). Indeed, there is considerable controversy about whether it is even possible to describe the Ottonian kingdom as a state (Staat). Saxon Military Forces Since the late nineteenth century, specialists in German history, and particularly in German military history, have identified the contingents of secular and ecclesiastical magnates as dominating the armies that were commanded by the king.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationJournal of Medieval Military History
PublisherBoydell and Brewer Ltd
Number of pages44
ISBN (Electronic)9781782040293
ISBN (Print)9781843837473
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

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© Contributors 2012. All rights reserved.


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