Medieval Counties Project

Counties of Carolingian and
post-Carolingian Europe

The intention is to describe the construction of the comitatus in terms both of the inherited right of counts and of geographical continuity in the pagi. Data coalesces around the reconstruction of family relationships, hence the results are organized according to the families who held counties. The presentation ultimately reflects the establishment of territorial principalities as a final stage of transition.

A significant part of the reconstruction is performed through inferences concerning continuity in the pagi, and the underlying goal of a comprehensive description of the pagi and their relevance is therefore accepted. Essentially this means that in theory the entire area of the Carolingian world is covered. However, in many cases a poverty of data concerning pagi prevents a clear understanding of the geographical basis of comital titles. Occasionally it may be possible to describe the comital family without ascertaining the precise basis of the comital title.














General objectives:-

Transition from the Carolingian pagi to dynastic territories, circa 900 to circa 1200

Perseverence or disappearance of comital titles as constitutional manifestation

Point of succession, role of inheritance, description of heritability in terms of law

Higher office: succession principles, idiosyncrasies, contrast with fundamental office of count

Differentiation of regional tendencies in reference to legal foundations

Accurate observation of onomastic practices in comital dynasties

Interpretation of heraldic choices in terms of constitutional phenomena


Current status:

Numerous pages have been posted for varying lengths of time, but are currently withdrawn in the interests of constructing complete sections. Sections for France are unlikely to be realized in anything like the near future on account of the widespread institution of viscountcy and its often unclear connection with the early counties. In Italy, dynastic fragmentation is an obvious obstacle to the description of the constitutional evolution of the comital office.

By contrast, it may be anticipated that several sections pertaining to Germany and the Low Countries will be completed and posted within a relatively short space of time. In particular, a complete description of constitutional evolution in the Frankish counties of the empire is within reach.