The Carloman Document is a charter named for King Carloman I of Bavaria, a great-grandson of Charlemagne. Dated to 9 September 878, it established a Benedictine monastic foundation from royal lands adjoining Carloman’s palace at Ötting, now modern-day Altötting in southeast Germany. The foundation incorporated the palatine chapel, which became a royal mausoleum, and a sizeable allotment of land. Although the monastery dissolved by the early eleventh century, the present Collegiate Church of Saints Philip and James was constructed on the foundations of the Carolingian monastery in the 1230s and even today serves as an important pilgrimage site.
The document itself is a large sheet of parchment measuring 43.5 by 57 centimeters. The main text of the charter is written on one side in long lines over twelve lines. The language is Latin in a late Caroline minuscule script. The top line is written up into the top margin in an elongated style typical of medieval charters and bulls. The bottom right corner retains its original royal seal of a man in right profile with the uncial label CARLOMAN REX. It is an important document for understanding Carolingian monasticism, royalty, and economics, but is also of interest to any with an affection for the rich history of Altötting.
Establishment of Monastery from Royal Lands
Carloman’s residence was in Ötting in modern-day Bavaria and it was here he granted land for the creation of a Benedictine monastery. The charter describes in detail the scope of the foundation, “bounded west by the Drau to the village of Puch, north of two lakes (Afritzer See and Brennsee), east of the Ossiacher See to the red rock protruding from the lake and south to the Zauchenbach and so on to the Villacher Bridge, and also the mountain Sicouua.”
This description provides valuable information about royal holdings in the late Carolingian empire. It is also the first record of the place name Carinthia, now a province in Austria.
Altötting, Bavaria, an Important Pilgrimage Site
Ötting was an important city in the history of the eastern Carolingian empire. It was the seat of Carloman I and his successor, Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia. Arnulf’s son, Ludwig, was baptized in the octagonal font of the chapel and his death in 911 marked the end of the German line of the Carolingian dynasty.
In the later Middle Ages, the town became a prominent pilgrimage site after a healing miracle in 1489 attributed to Mary with a focus on a fourteenth-century Burgundian statue called the “Black Madonna”.
King Carloman I of Bavaria
Carloman was the eldest son of Louis the German and named after an eighth-century local ruler. He initially ruled the March of Carinthia, a frontier territory to the east of Bavaria, and after his father’s death became king of Bavaria and Italy, at the time a contiguous region bounding the eastern extent of the Carolingian empire.
Ötting was centrally located in the northern half, which at the time extended into modern-day Austria. For this reason, this charter is held in the Kärntner Landesarchiv, the public archive of the Province of Carinthia, the southern-most province of Austria.
We have 2 facsimiles of the manuscript "Carloman Document":
- Das Karlmann-Diplom (Normal Edition) facsimile edition published by Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1996
- Das Karlmann-Diplom (Deluxe Edition) facsimile edition published by Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1996