Van prins tot zwart schaap en terug | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 134 Number 2
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



This article investigates the rather fluid process of character assassination of Pippin, nicknamed “the Hunchback”. In 792 Pippin joined a conspiracy led by more than a few noblemen against his father, Charlemagne. However, the plot came out just in time and Pippin was confined to a monastery for the rest of his life. His memory was subsequently besmirched by quite a number of writers, who walked the line between blackening Pippin while at the same time ensuring that Pippin’s misstep was never presented as a stain on the reputation of the Carolingian dynasty as a whole. As a result, the character assassination had to be modified time and again to constantly fit the present-day needs of the dynasty. As long as the Carolingians were safe and sound, as a ruling dynasty, Pippin could be blackened. But when the Carolingian family found itself in trouble with regard to securing the family bloodline, the literary Pippin made a spectacular comeback in order to contribute to the preservation of the Carolingian royal dynasty.


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