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Hagiography, Historiography, and Identity in Sixth-Century Gaul: Rethinking Gregory of Tours
by Tamar Rotman
Amsterdam University Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-90-485-5199-6

Gregory of Tours, the sixth-century Merovingian bishop, composed extensive historiographical and hagiographical corpora during the twenty years of his episcopacy in Tours. These works serve as important sources for the cultural, social, political and religious history of Merovingian Gaul. This book focuses on Gregory’s hagiographical collections, especially the Glory of the Martyrs, Glory of the Confessors, and Life of the Fathers, which contain accounts of saints and their miracles from across the Mediterranean world. It analyses these accounts from literary and historical perspectives, examining them through the lens of relations between the Merovingians and their Mediterranean counterparts, and contextualizing them within the identity crisis that followed the disintegration of the Roman world. This approach leads to groundbreaking conclusions about Gregory’s hagiographies, which this study argues were designed as an “ecclesiastical history” (of the Merovingian Church) that enabled him to craft a specific Gallo-Christian identity for his audience.

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