Envoys and Political Communication in the Late Antique West, 411-533

By Andrew Gillett | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
THE SAINT AS ENVOY: FIFTH- AND
SIXTH-CENTURY LATIN BISHOPS'
LIVES

Through the intercession and merit of the priest, a king was restrained, an
army recalled, provinces spared from devastation.

Constantius, Vita Germani Autissiodorensis, 28

Besides Sidonius' Panegyric on Avitus, the most extensive dramatisations of embassies in late antique Latin literature occur in several hagiographic Lives of bishops. Scenes of bishops undertaking legations to rulers on behalf of their communities are well-known attestations of the increasing involvement of the episcopacy in public functions, in turn a reflection of the annexation of the office of bishop by members of the provincial aristocracy.1 Such tableaux also appear to give evidence of a concomitant ebb of municipal and imperial authority, a vacuum filled perforce by the church. This latter impression is misleading.2 Embassies appear in late fifth- and early sixth-century hagiography precisely because the undertaking of legations was a common but prestigious political occurrence in secular centres of power, carried out by non-ecclesiastics

1 On bishops and aristocracy: M. Heinzelmann, Bischofsherrschaft in Gallien: zur Kontinuitat römischer Fuhrungsschichten vom 4. bis zum 7. Jahrhundert (Beiheft der Francia 5; Munich, 1976); S. J. B. Barnish, ‘Transformation and Survival in the Western Senatorial Aristocracy, c. AD 400–700’, Papers of the British School in Rome 56 (1988), 138–40.

There is no single overview of late antique/early medieval hagiography pending the completion of the multi-volume Hagiographies, ed. Guy Philipart, 2 vols. to date (Corpus Christianorum; Turnhout, 1994, 1996), but valuable surveys of recent work include: P. Fouracre, ‘Merovingian History and Merovingian Hagiography’, Past and Present 127 (1990), 3–38; Julia M. H. Smith, ‘Early Medieval Hagiography in the Late Twentieth Century’, Early Medieval Europe 1 (1992), 69–76; Patrick J. Geary, Living with the Dead in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY, 1994), 9–29; I. N Wood, ‘The Use and Abuse of Latin Hagiography in the Early Medieval West’, in E. Chrysos and I. Wood (eds.), East and West: Modes of Communication (The Transformation of the Roman World 5; Leiden, 1999), 93–109. For literary analysis of the genre: E Lotter, Severinus von Noricum: Legende und historische Wirklichkeit (Stuttgart, 1976), 37–59; C. Stancliffe, St Martin and his Hagiographer: History and Miracle in Sulpicius Severus (Oxford, 1983), 86–102; W Berschin, Biographie und Epochenstil im lateinischen Mittelalter, 3 vols. (Stuttgart, 1986–91), esp. i, section iv, ‘Bischofsleben der Spatantike’, 193–266.

2 Cf. the cautions against exaggerating the degree of municipal secular authority held by bishops prior to the mid-sixth century (for the West) in Liebeschuetz, Decline and Fall of the Roman City, esp. 143, 144, 154, 156–7.

-113-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Envoys and Political Communication in the Late Antique West, 411-533
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 339

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.