Online Medieval Sources Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography of Printed and Online Primary Sources for the Middle Ages

Source Details

Doyle, Edward Gerard, trans., Sedulius Scottus: On Christian Rulers and the Poems (Binghamton, NY: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton)

Text name(s): De rectoribus christianis; On Christian Rulers

Number of pages of primary source text: 127


Dates: 840 - 860

Archival Reference: 

Original Language(s): 

  • Latin


  • Translated into English.

Translation Comments: The translation of De Rectoribus Christianis is based on the Latin edition of S. Hellmann in "Sedulius Scottus" (Munich: C. H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1906). That of the poems relies upon the text published by Traube (Berlin: MGH, 1881-4).

Geopolitical Region(s): 

  • Europe
  • France

County/Region: Liège

Record Types: 

  • Literature - Verse
  • Treatise - Political

Subject Headings: 

  • Carolingians
  • Government
  • Nobility / Gentry
  • Political Thought
  • Theology - Ecclesiology
  • Royalty / Monarchs
  • Clergy - Priests, Bishops, Canons


  • Bibliography
  • Introduction


Sedulius Scottus was an Irish scholar and teacher active in the Frankish intellectual circles of the mid-ninth century. Leaving his homeland because of escalating Viking incursions and welcomed by the Franks in Liege, Sedulius became a conspicuous figure in the so-called Carolingian Renaissance, and is now most well known for his Scriptural commentaries and grammatical works. The De rectoribus christianis, included in this volume, is a treatise addressed to Lothar II, newly-made King of Lotharingia, laying out royal responsibilities and the nature of the sacred authority of the king’s office. A testament to the growing popularity of the genre of “mirrors of princes” at this time, the De rectoribus christianis takes on the question of Church-State relations in the context of the program of spiritual and social regeneration advanced by the Carolingian emperors and thereby worked to revive the Latin tradition of political writing. This book also contains ninety-one poems of Sedulius, which reveal the personal circumstances and thoughts of the poet and illuminate the nature of the life of a medieval courtier. Many of them are addressed to fellow intellectuals, to Sedulius’ episcopal patrons, Hartgar and Franco of Liège, and various members of the royal family. Notes on the poems are provided.

Introduction Summary: 

The comprehensive introduction (40 pp.) outlines what is known of Sedulius’ life, intellectual circle, and works, before proceeding to a thorough treatment of the place of the De rectoribus christianis within Carolingian political culture and then a discussion of the stylistic highlights and topical range of Sedulius’ poems.

Cataloger: WLL