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Wala of Corbie

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Wala of Corbie

Wala (c. 755 – 31 August 836) was a son of Bernard, son of Charles Martel, and one of the principal advisers of his cousin Charlemagne, of Charlemagne's son Louis the Pious, and of Louis's son Lothair I. He succeeded his brother Adalard as abbot of Corbie and its new daughter foundation, Corvey, in 826 or 827.

Originally a Herford, recently passed into Louis's hands at the Council of Aachen.[2] In the 820s Wala become a strong opponent of royal/imperial control of church benefices.[3] He was back at court in 822 as a concillor (councillor). According to Paschasius Radbertus, Wala alleged on one occasion that the "army of clerics" (i.e. chaplains) resident at the Palace of Aachen (and perhaps itinerant with the emperor) served only for personal gain and did not form a legitimate ecclesiastical institution.[4] In 831 Wala left Corbie; in 834 he was abbot of Bobbio.

Early Years

Wala was born as a son of a Saxon woman and Count Bernard who was a brother of Pepin the Third and a natural son of Charles Martel.[5] Wala was the first cousin of Charlemagne[6] and a half brother of Adalard the Younger, who served as abbot of Corbie until 826. Wala also had a full brother named Bernarius, and two sisters Gundrada and Theodrada, abbess of Notre-Dame de Soissons.[7] In Wala’s early years, he had been brought up in the school of the royal Palace with his brother Adalard the Younger. At Court, both Wala and his brother Adalard were known as being honest, honorable and zealous.[8] As a youth, Wala incurred the temporary disapproval of his cousin Charles. In 792, it has been supposed that he was in some way involved with the conspiracy of Charles son’, Pepin the hunchback. As a result, he was banned from court and forced to live under the close watch of some of the loyal magnates.[9] During this time, it is presumed that he married daughter of William, count of Toulouse, Rothlindis, and Wala became a brother in-law of Bernard of Barcelona.[10] He was widowed before he became a monk in 814. In his early years, Wala regained royal favor. During Charlemagne’s rule, he rose to become the Emperor’s second-in-command.[11] Charlemagne appears to have appointed his cousin Wala to oversee administration on Saxony, just as he had elevated his brother in law Gerold in Bavaria.[12] During his rule Charlemagne appears to have relied confidently on his capable cousins, including Adalard, Bernarius and Wala.[13]

Under Louis the Pious

Upon the death of Charlemagne, his son Louis the Pious was proclaimed as the new emperor. Wala came to the new king and submitted homage as a part of tradition for the Franks.[14] However, in 814, in effort to wipe out potential political disability, Louis obliged Wala to become a monk at Corbie.[15] Nearly all Charlemagne's old advisors were removed from the royal sphere of influence.[16] However, in 821, Louis recalled Adalard from his exile to the abbey of Corbie and sent an invitation to Wala to once again attend the Frankish Court.[17] Furthermore, in 822, realizing the rage caused by his maltreatment of his father’s old advisors, he expressed a public penance for his dismissal at Attigny on the Aisne among his people.[18] At this point, it appears that the old counselors of Charlemagne, including Adalard and Wala reconciled with the emperor. Thus, in 822, Wala followed his brother Adalard the Younger to the court who sought to meet with his father’s old advisors.[19] Upon the death of King Bernard in Northern Italy, in the autumn of 822, then forty-nine years old, Wala was called by the Emperor Louis the Pious to assist his son, Lothair I in governing Italy and to serve as intermediary between papacy in Italy.[20]

Rebellions

Wala was a strong advocate of the unity of Frankish empire and thus on several occasions he aided [25] In 836, Wala died in Italy.

Monastic Life

According to Vita Walae, the Epitaphium Arsenii written by [29] Moreover, during his stay in Italy to guide the emperor’s son, Lothair, Wala also acquired a copy of the Roman antiphonary for his abbey of Corbie. He also took special interest in the Danish mission of Ansgar, a monk of both Corbie and New Corvey.[30] He succeeded his brother Adalard upon his death to become the abbot of Corbie in 826.[31]

Ideas on Reforms

Wala was restored to Court by Louis the Pious in 821, where he voiced his opinions on church and state reforms. Wala tried to establish procedures to control the exploitation of wealth by the Carolingian state officials.[32] In a letter addressed to him and Archchaplain Hilduin in 826, Bishop Agobard observed that Wala was always at court as one of the very godly advisers of Louis the Pious.[33] Many sources strongly suggest that Wala was opposed to the idea of partition of the empire amongst Louis’s four sons and favored the unity of the empire. Although Wala attributed weakening of the empire due to movement towards secularization depriving church of its rights meanwhile bishops have occupied themselves to the state affairs, he believed that it was the right of the church to intervene in matters such as partition of the kingdom.[34] In 829, Paschasisus Radbert wrote in his Life of Wala, Wala at forefront talking “of the greed and avarice of the chaplains of the royal Court; of layman placed in rule over monasteries, “… a “filthy disease within the Church” of the corrupted clerics in the church.[35] Wala believed that some of these clerics and chaplains had no religious authority and served for no reason other than for the sake of their profit.[36]

Notes

  1. ^ McKitterick 1983, p. 134.
  2. ^ McKitterick 1983, p. 118.
  3. ^ McKitterick 1983, p. 122.
  4. ^ McKitterick 1983, p. 85.
  5. ^ Nelson, introduction.
  6. ^ Astronomus (active 814-840). Son of Charlemagne; a contemporary life of Louis the Pious. Translated, with introd, and notes, by Allen Cabaniss. Syracuse University Press, 1961, p. 147.
  7. ^ Paschasius, Radbertus. Charlemagne's cousins; contemporary lives of Adalard and Wala. Translated, with introd. and notes, by Allen Cabaniss, Syracuse University Press, 1967, p.6
  8. ^ Duckett 1969, p. 15.
  9. ^ Paschasius, Radbertus translated, with introd. and notes, by Allen Cabaniss 1967, p. 5.
  10. ^ Astronomus (active 814-840) Translated, with introd, and notes, by Allen Cabaniss 1961, p. 147.
  11. ^ Duckett 1969, p. 22.
  12. ^ McKitterick 2008, p. 256.
  13. ^ Astronomus (active 814–840). Son of Charlemagne; a contemporary life of Louis the Pious. Translated, with introd, and notes, by Allen Cabaniss. Syracuse University Press, 1961, p. 147.
  14. ^ Astronomus (active 814-840) Translated, with introd, and notes, by Allen Cabaniss 1961, p. 54.
  15. ^ McKitterick 1983, p. 134.
  16. ^ McKitterick 1983, p. 134.
  17. ^ Duckett 1969, p. 29.
  18. ^ Duckett 1969, p. 30.
  19. ^ Paschasius, Radbertus translated, with introd. and notes, by Allen Cabaniss 1967, p. 8.
  20. ^ Duckett 1969, p. 32.
  21. ^ Duckett 1969, p. 39.
  22. ^ Nelson 2010, p. 46.
  23. ^ Duckett 1969, p. 43.
  24. ^ Duckett 1969, p. 51
  25. ^ Duckett 1969, p.53
  26. ^ Mayr-Harting 1990, p. 221.
  27. ^ Paschasius, Radbertus Translated, with introd. and notes, by Allen Cabaniss 1967, p. 10.
  28. ^ Paschasius, Radbertus Translated, with introd. and notes, by Allen Cabaniss 1967, p. 10
  29. ^ Paschasius, Radbertus Translated, with introd. and notes, by Allen Cabaniss 1967, p. 10.
  30. ^ Paschasius Radbertus translated, with introd. and notes, by Allen Cabaniss 1967, p. 12.
  31. ^ Paschasius, Radbertus. Translated, with introd. and notes, by Allen Cabaniss, 1967 p. 12.
  32. ^ Nelson 2010, p. 147.
  33. ^ Paschasius, Radbertus Translated, with introd. and notes, by Allen Cabaniss 1967, p.12
  34. ^ Dawson 1952, p. 260.
  35. ^ Duckett 1969, p. 36.
  36. ^ Duckett 1969, p. 36.

References

  • Dawson, Christopher (1952). The Making of Europe: An Intoroduction to the History of European Unity. Sheed & Ward.
  • Lorenz Weinrich (1963). Wala – Graf, Mönch und Rebell. Lübeck and Hamburg (Karolingische Studien Heft 386)
  • Duckett, Eleanor (1969). Carolingian Portraits: A Study in the Ninth Century. University of Michigan Press.
  • McKitterick, Rosamond. (1983). The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians, 751–987. London: Longman. ISBN 0-582-49005-7.
  • Mayr-Harting, Henry (1990). “Two Abbots in Politics: Wala of Corbie and Bernard of Clairvaux.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Fifth Series, vol. 40.
  • Riché, Pierre (1993). The Carolingians: A Family who Forged Europe. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1342-4.
  • McKitterick, Rosamond (2008). Charlemagne: The Formation of a European Identity. Cambridge University Press.
  • Nelson, Janet. (2010). The Frankish World, 750–900. Continuum International Publishing.
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