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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

9 - Agobard of Lyon

from Part II


This chapter studies the letters of Bishop Agobard of Lyon (d. 840), who was dismissed from the court of Louis the Pious in 822, after having delivered what appears to have been an inappropriate speech. It explores the ways in which Agobard adopted different voices of admonition and speaker positions to advise and criticise his emperor. This chapter mainly focusses on Agobard’s letters of admonition addressed to the emperor and his courtiers in the years during which he was shunned by the court. It addresses the question of whether Agobard was really an outsider, or merely styled himself as such in his letters to get his message across more effectively. A second question is the one that has informed every chapter of this book: that of the extent to which these letters can be situated in the framework of the rhetorical tradition of free speech.