Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

By | June 6, 2022

According to Homosociety, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, between Belgium, Germany and France, is one of the smallest states in Europe and takes its name from the city of the same name, the current capital of the Grand Duchy, originally built as a fortified center with the name of Lucilinburhuc (attested in the 10th century) and subsequently the seat of the count dynasty that imposed its dominion there (Flesch, 1972). in the territory of Gallia Belgica. Some scattered testimonies remain from the Roman era: the construction of a castrum in the ancient city of Ricciacum (od. Dalheim), the remains of a pagan temple in Christnach and a relief with pagan divinities preserved in the church of Berdorf (Ternes, 1970, THE). Subsequently the Luxembourg it was conquered by the Franks and, with the Treaty of Verdun (843), it was included in the territory of Lotharingia. Numerous objects preserved in Luxembourg (Mus. Nat. D’Histoire et d’Art) – glass, ceramics, fibulae of gold and other materials (Meyers, 1958) – and some burials found in Emmering date back to the time of Frankish rule., Waldwies, Dalheim (Ternes, 1970, I). 7th the important monastic center of Echternach was founded; entrusted to the care of the Irish monk Willibrord (658-739), evangelizer of the Frisi, Echternach became the main point of reference for Christianity in the region and from this abbey, at the behest of Willibrord himself, numerous initiatives for the evangelization of the populations started stationed across the Rhine. When Willibrord died in 739, was buried in the church that he had erected at the abbey (Stand, 1922), brought to light during the excavations conducted after the destruction of the Second World War.The monastery of Echternach, since its foundation, became the center of the activity of an important scriptorium, which saw its apogee in the century. 11 °, but that already from the time of Abbot Willibrord produced manuscripts of a certain importance. Notable among these is an evangeliary, the so-called Codex Epternacensis, datable to the end of the century. 7 ° and today preserved in Paris (BN, lat. 9389; Spang, 1986, fig. 8). The relationships between the scriptorium of Echternach and the insular style are documented by some manuscripts produced in the abbey in the century. 8 °, written and decorated by scribes whose name has been handed down. The first of these is a codex preserved in Paris (BN, lat. 9382), copied for the most part by a scribe named Virgil in a fairly homogeneous insular semi-uncial.

The hypothesis that this scribe was Irish is suggested precisely by the name, interpreted as a Latinization of an Irish onomastic form (Levison, 1946, pp. 59-60). Probably Virgil himself also worked on the Calendar of s. Willibrord (Paris, BN, lat. 10837, cc. 34-41) and the Augsburg Gospels (Universitätsbibl., I). The possible provenance of the Calendar of s. Willibrord from an Irish monastery (presumably that of Rath Melsigi, from where Willibrord himself would have brought it to the continent in 690) and the similarity of this manuscript with the others cited allow us to look at the insular environment as an obligatory point of reference for the work of the Echternach scriptorium, at least for this first phase of its activity (Netzer, 1994). The importance of the Echternach scriptorium in the Carolingian age is confirmed by the intense relationships between the abbey and the other monastic centers in which the production of illuminated manuscripts flourished, in particular Trier way. Starting from 895, the year in which the two monasteries were united under the leadership of the same abbot, the powerful Radbod, a series of cultural exchanges had to take place between the two writing centers and probably the same scribes worked both in Echternach and in Trier. In this period some very similar manuscripts were produced: a Paris codex (BN, lat. 10865) coming from Trier, where it was written in the 13th century. 9 °; a codex of Ghent (Bibl. van de Rijksuniv., 96), copy of the 16th century 10th of a manuscript most likely completed in Trier in the 10th century. 9 °; a codex from Echternach (Paris, BN, lat.10864), the first thirty-six sheets of which were drawn up by a hand very close to the one who wrote and decorated, between 895 and 900, the Paris Sacramentary (BN, lat.9433), also from Echternach. With regard to this last manuscript, it is possible to understand relationships between the style of the phytomorphic decorations of the initials and some Carolingian ivories, for example. the panel with the Nativity and the Baptism of Christ in London (British Mus.), the one kept in Tournai (Trésor de la Cathédrale Notre-Dame), representing the archbishop with two clerics, and the lid of a reliquary-box with a Crucifixion, destroyed during World War II (Sanderson, 1976, figs. 3, 1, 4). 11th Echternach became the privileged scriptorium of the imperial client. In fact, important manuscripts came out of the monastery such as the Gospels of Emperor Henry III preserved in Bremen (Staats- und Universitätsbibl., B.21), the Codex Aureus all’Escorial (Bibl., Vitr. 17), from around 1040, a Sacramentary preserved in Darmstadt (Hessische Landes- und Hochschulbibl., 1946), the Gradual in Paris (BN, lat. 10510) and the valuable Codex Aureus Epternacensis in Nuremberg (Germanisches Nationalmus., 156142; Oettinger, 1960; Verheyen, 1963; Das Goldene Evangelienbuch, 1982; Spang, 1986) The Darmstadt Sacramentary, dated around 1022, contains one of the earliest examples of figurative initials elaborated in the Echternach scriptorium (c. 150r), which return with similar shapes and decorations in the Nuremberg Gospels and the Paris Gradual (c. 20r). Still with regard to the Gradual, it is necessary to underline the proximity of some miniatures with those of an older manuscript, dated around 800, the so-called Egino codex (Berlin, Staatsbibl., Phill. 1676; Plotzek, 1970, pp. 8-11). In particular, the miniatures on f. 19r of this with those of c. 20v of the Graduale: in both cases a central figure, haloed, sits on a sort of throne, showing a book, surrounded by two figures of clerics: the general setting of the scene in the two miniatures is similar, as well as some details in the physiognomies of the main characters. In a study of the French workshops of the Ottonian period Nordenfalk (1964, pp. 55-57) approached the miniatures of Echternach, in particular the figured initials, to those of a manuscript produced in a Cluniac environment between the secc. 11th and 12th, the De virginitate Sanctae Mariae of s. Ildefonso, now preserved in Parma (Bibl. Palatina, 1650). As regards military architecture, which had a great development in the Luxembourg, especially in the Middle Ages, it is necessary to keep in mind the historical conditions that framed and determined the construction of the numerous strongholds and fortified centers already starting from the century. 9th: they constitute the salient feature of the medieval architecture of the region. In 963 Sigifredo I bought the stronghold of the od. Luxembourg city (Dunan, 1941, p. 7) starting the dynasty of the Counts of Luxembourg, who from that moment on and throughout the Middle Ages fought over the territory of the region with other great families. Regarding the distribution of the fortified centers on the territory, it is necessary to make a distinction between the two large geographical areas that make up this territory: the Ardennes region, located to the North of a line from Brouch and Wallendorf, localities in the Eifel region (the vast plateau N of the Moselle today included in German territory), passes through Diekirch, Grosbous and reaches Attert, in Belgium, is characterized by high and steep mountains and furrowed by numerous rivers, while the region that extends to S of this line is characterized by a non-mountainous landscape, with sparse forests and wide and well exposed valleys (Dunan, 1941, pp. 5-6). This different conformation of the territory determines the differentiation in the position of the strongholds: in the Ardennes region the fortified centers are located on a rocky outcrop often connected to a mountain only by a narrow strip of land – eg. Bourscheid, Brandenbourg, Falkenstein, Vianden, Esch-sur-Sûre (where the fortress that houses the castle stands completely isolated from the nearby hills) – while in the southern area of ​​the village the plant is located on the edge of a rocky plateau, overhanging on the wide valleys, such as Ansembourg, Larochette, Hespérange. Most of the Luxembourg fortified centers owe their construction to the initiative of the great abbeys of the surrounding regions (Stavelot, Prüm, St. Maximin) and to the fact that the whole area subject, now only partially included in the territories of the Grand Duchy, was upset between the century. 9th and 10th from a series of raids and looting. An example of the climate of tension provoked by these continuous attacks is provided by the events of the Prüm abbey, today in Germany, but formerly at the center of a geographical area that included large portions of the current territory of the Grand Duchy.

From the Chronicon of Reginone di Prüm (MGH. SS, I, 1826, p. 603) we learn that the Normans in 892 sacked the abbey for the second time (a first raid dated back ten years earlier) and on that occasion they also attacked another fortress in the area, not precisely identifiable, which had been built as a refuge for the large population already immediately after the first raid. On the basis of this information, Dunan (1941, p. 7) hypothesized the existence of a substantial number of fortified centers, all of which arose to protect the populations. Following the invasion of the Hungarians, in 927, the castle of Esch-sur-Sûre was founded and, most likely for the same reason, before 955 the castle of Mirwart-sur- was built by Count Stephen, of the Ardenne family. la-Lomme. In the Ardennes region, between 1102 and 1106 the Bourscheid castle was already defined as munitissimum castrum (Dunan, 1941, p. 8) and was built in the same area in the century. 11th, the fortress of Vianden, one of the best preserved. The oldest parts of this castle (the chapel and the lower floors of the small palace) date back to the 12th century. The so-called Byzantine hall and the basement of the great palace can be dated to the early years of the century. 13th, the great hall and the upper floors were built around 1250, the hall of the Knights and the vestibule of the small palace date from the 15th century. Also noteworthy are the sculptural parts of the imposing complex, influenced, as far as the Byzantine hall is concerned, by decorative motifs originating from Ile-de-France (Dunan, 1941, pp. 11-28). However, the sculptural decoration of Vianden constitutes an exception in the panorama of the Luxembourg castles built in the Middle Ages and testifies to the wealth and power of the counts who lived there. Rare examples of decorative motifs can be found in the century. 15 ° in Lianden (sculptures of the fireplace in the banquet hall) and in Bourscheid (bas-reliefs in one of the entrance towers). As regards the defense techniques, it is necessary to at least report the exceptional case of the castle of Logne, today in Belgian territory, but historically attributable to the Luxembourg context, restored and enlarged in 1138 at the behest of the Abbot of Stavelot Wibald. Even today the tower that he had built, in a strategic position, particular and unique in the region (right at the point that separates the spur of rock, where the castle stands, from the hill), is called the Wibald bastion. In his study of the Luxembourg strongholds Dunan (1941, pp. 221-222) does not fail to point out how the position and shape of this large circular tower (which protects the only entrance to the fortress) recall similar solutions experimented in the same period in Syria by the Crusaders, but known in France only much later.

Grand Duchy of Luxembourg