The divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga

Hincmar of Rheims's De divortio

Translated and Edited by Rachel Stone and Charles West

The divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8296-2
  • Pages: 368
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £19.99
  • Published Date: June 2016
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Medieval history, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval, HISTORY / Medieval, LITERARY CRITICISM / Medieval, CE period up to c 1500, European history: medieval period, middle ages, History & Archaeology, History, Medieval History
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Sources


In the mid-ninth century, Francia was rocked by the first royal divorce scandal of the Middle Ages: the attempt by King Lothar II of Lotharingia to rid himself of his queen, Theutberga and remarry. Even 'women in their weaving sheds' were allegedly gossiping about the lurid accusations made. Kings and bishops from neighbouring kingdoms, and several popes, were gradually drawn into a crisis affecting the fate of an entire kingdom.

This is the first professionally published translation of a key source for this extraordinary episode: Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims's De divortio Lotharii regis et Theutbergae reginae. This text offers eye-opening insight both on the political wrangling of the time and on early medieval attitudes towards magic, penance, gender, the ordeal, marriage, sodomy, the role of bishops, and kingship.The translation includes a substantial introduction and annotations, putting the case into its early medieval context and explaining Hincmar's sometimes-dubious methods of argument.


'Overall,fellow historians will appreciate the expertise, clarity and good sense withwhich Stone and West have approached both the text and the elucidation of itscontext. It is admirably abreast of current scholarship (not least that since1992) on Frankish politics, the Frankish church, bishops, canon law, patristicand early medieval commentaries and use of Latin. This book, in short, is avaluable contribution to scholarship.'
Rosamond McKitterick, Cambridge, Francia-Recensio

'An excellent contribution that facilitates a first access to this work, both for the general public and for students, teachers and specialists who need a first approach and an orientation for a deeper exploration of the text and its tradition.'
María Paula Rey, UBA-USAL, ETIAM

'De divortio Lotharii regis et Theutbergae reginae (a modern title) is now available in a splendid English translation, the first of its kind, with a highly informative introduction and many helpful footnotes, by Rachel Stone and Charles West. [...] this welcome book is the result of years of joint translation and interpretation, and it shows.'
Mayke De Jong, Early Medieval Europe


1. The political background
2. Hincmar of Rheims
3. De Divortio
4. Law and justice
5. Penance and confession
6. Christian marriage and Frankish society
7. Theutberga's offences
8. Magic, witchcraft and the workings of the devil
9. Kingship and bishops
10. Aftermath
11. Conclusion
The text

Translators and Editors

Rachel Stone is Visiting Research Associate in the Department of History at King's College, London

Charles West is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Sheffield

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