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Bellum Batonianum and Bellum Liudewiticum: analogies and differences (Summary)

Hrvoje Gračanin

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (705 KB) str. 117-133 preuzimanja: 101* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Gračanin, H. (2019). Bellum Batonianum i Bellum Liudewiticum: dodirnice i razilaznice. Radovi, 51 (2), 117-133. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Gračanin, Hrvoje. "Bellum Batonianum i Bellum Liudewiticum: dodirnice i razilaznice." Radovi, vol. 51, br. 2, 2019, str. 117-133. Citirano 28.11.2020.
Chicago 17th Edition
Gračanin, Hrvoje. "Bellum Batonianum i Bellum Liudewiticum: dodirnice i razilaznice." Radovi 51, br. 2 (2019): 117-133.
Gračanin, H. (2019). 'Bellum Batonianum i Bellum Liudewiticum: dodirnice i razilaznice', Radovi, 51(2), str. 117-133. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 28.11.2020.)
Gračanin H. Bellum Batonianum i Bellum Liudewiticum: dodirnice i razilaznice. Radovi [Internet]. 2019 [pristupljeno 28.11.2020.];51(2):117-133. Dostupno na:
H. Gračanin, "Bellum Batonianum i Bellum Liudewiticum: dodirnice i razilaznice", Radovi, vol.51, br. 2, str. 117-133, 2019. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 28.11.2020.]

The paper offers an analyzes of the parallels between the so-called War of the Batos (Bellum Batonianum) and the war against the duke of Lower Pannonia, Liudewit (Bellum Liedewiticum) based on ancient and early medieval written sources. Particular attention is paid to the depictions of situations and expressions used by authors in describing both wars, in order to detect the historiographical and ideological pattern and interdependence of the narratives. The differences resulting from various historiographical genres and ideological needs are also observed. Finally, the practical presentations of both wars are compared according to the available source material. The basis for comparison are accounts found in the Annales regni Francorum and the Vita Hludowici imperatoris, which were compiled in the first half of the 9th century, and are the most comprehensive sources for the uprising of the duke of Lower Pannonia, Ljudevit, as well as the Roman History (Historia Romana) by Velleius Paterculus and the Lives of Caesars (De vita Caesarum) by Suetonius Tranquillus (early 1st and early 2nd centuries AD), works that yield valuable information about the uprising of the two Batos. In particular, the connection between the Frankish sources and Suetonius’s imperial biographies is explored, since the historiographical tradition of the so-called Carolingian Renaissance found its inspiration precisely in Suetonius’s biographical history (one should remember Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne, especially if one takes into account that Einhard was thought by older historiography to be one of the authors/editors of the Annales regni Francorum).

Both the Roman and Frankish sources that provide the information about the War of the Batos and the War against Liudewit, which are under scrutiny here, each look at these respective events from their own timelines and their own perspectives as undisputed sovereigns who, by their domination, guarantee peaceful state of affairs and general prosperity, therefore presenting any attempt to change the existing circumstances as blow to the right order of things. Their colonial discourse is rather obvious. Even when they seem to emphasize the virtues of their adversaries (regularly those are military virtues), or the difficulties associated with warfare against rebels and initial concerns, they do so to extol their own success.

At the narrative level, the dependence of Frankish authors on Roman literary patterns can be seen in the formation of narratives, which, in line with genre restrictions, is reflected in the borrowing of syntagms and conceptual sets. Whether or not there is also at work a more direct reliance by Frankish authors on their Roman counterparts in relation to geopolitical considerations (the coincidence of the area of the events) is difficult to say with certainty, but the analysis conducted here seems to indicate that Frankish authors were certainly aware of this. The strong personalisation of the Carolingian-age war in southern Pannonia - besides being more in tune with the spirit of the era since it was about a vassal who rose against his lord – may have also been due to the fact that a not sufficiently specific mention of the Pannonian war in the context of the time might lead readers to think that the area north of the river Drava was affected as well, the entire limes Pannonicus (ARF, a. 826). A debt to Roman models, in a way, is additionally paid here with the reference to the „Pannonian expedition“ (expeditio Pannonica, ARF, a. 821). It is certainly clear from the Frankish records that Ljudevit’s uprising was the single most dramatic event in the history of the Carolingian dominance in the Danube-Adriatic area, which must have served as an additional trigger for Frankish authors to have before their eyes, as both a literary model and a political forerunner, the War of the Batos that the Romans themselves called their most serious conflict since the Punic Wars.

In the end, the epilogue and lesson of the story of both the Roman and Frankish accounts are, mutatis mutandis, identical and correspond to ideological posits of either empires: in both cases the rebels were defeated, their leaders justifiably punished, and the empires gained deserved triumphs. Anything less could (or should) have been hardly expected.

Ključne riječi
Bellum Batonianum; bellum Liudewiticum; Roman historiography; Carolingian historiography; ideology; propaganda

Hrčak ID: 236006



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