During the VIIth century a change in emphasis came over western kingship - kings moved into an ecclesiastical atmosphere, and frequent biblical examples and citations were used to denote the Christian complexion of the newly formed political thought. One significant effect of this shift of emphasis was the emergence of the royal patronage of liturgy. In seventh century Francia, chants and prayers became an instrument by which heavenly protection was sought for the benefit of the kingdom and its ruler, and consequently kings and queens invested vast amounts of landed property and other privileges in order to secure the prayers on their behalf. This paper discusses the case of the Merovingian King Dagobert I, who was the first Frankish king to make ample use of the patronage of liturgy. Although unsuccessful in the long term, Dagobert's endeavour to institute a perpetual chant in Saint-Denis, following the model of Saint-Maurice of Agaune, is an important turning point in the history of the royal patronage of liturgy in Frankish Gaul. In his acts Dagobert established a pattern that was diligently followed by future kings and queens, not only Merovingian, but also Carolingian.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Literature and Literary Theory