The World of Gregory of Tours

The World of Gregory of Tours

The World of Gregory of Tours

The World of Gregory of Tours


In a fascinating series of essays, the life, works and world of Gregory of Tours are evaluated. This sixth-century bishop is probably best known as writer of the History of the Franks. The collection of essays makes a valuable contribution to the flourishing field of Gregory of Tours studies. Though the contributors take full account of his political dimension, they also see Gregory in his cultural context. In addition to being representative of the age in which he lived, Gregory is presented here as an exceptional man. Furthermore, the contributors offer an up-to-date assessment of Merovingian culture, history and religion. Themes include: the urban history of Tours and the Merovingian world; ideas, politics and international contacts in the Merovingian world; the Merovingian church; Gregorys hagiographic writings; the Histories; and the manuscript tradition. Contributors include: Bernard S. Bachrach, Peter Brown, John J. Contreni, S. Fanning, Nancy Gauthier, Walter Goffart, Guy Halsall, Yitzak Hen, Conrad Leyser, Felice Lifshitz, Jo Ann McNamara, Kathleen Mitchell, William Monroe, Janet L. Nelson, Giselle de Nie, Thomas F. X. Noble, Patrick Périn, Walther Pohl, E. M. Rose, B. H. Rosenwein, Danuta Shanzer, Julia M. H. Smith, Ian Wood, andBarbara Yorke.


The papers in this book almost all belong to the Gregory of Tours celebrations of 1994, held to commemorate the fourteenth centenary of his death. Some derive from a conference held in Oxford, specifically to commemorate Gregory; others were initially delivered in strands devoted to the Bishop of Tours at the international congresses held in Leeds and Kalamazoo.

Originating as they do not in one focussed conference, but in a series of different meetings, they provide a broad indication of the range of Gregory studies as they have evolved over the last few years. They also provide a fuller picture of Gregory than is usually to be found in a single volume. A point that recurs more than once in the following pages is the need to view Gregory in his entirety. Individual aspects of his output and career have been explored in numerous books and articles of the closing years of the twentieth century, but no single scholar has really held or even attempted to hold all those aspects together. This collection perhaps comes closer than most to providing an indication of the multifaceted nature of Gregory, his output and the milieu in which he was working.

Putting together a collection which derived from several different conferences and a number of different countries has been something of a complex exercise. Even with the media of computer disks and e-mail the editorial work between North America and Europe has not always been easy. We have also discovered that editing two dialects of the same language is not necessarily straightforward, and are aware that we may have not been entirely consistent in standardising between English and American. Finding a scholar willing and able to comment on what we had gathered proved to be much less difficult. We were lucky to find in Peter Brown a commentator who read the papers which we had collected, and did so with enormous enthusiasm, adding his own light to the multifarious lights that had already been produced by the Gregory celebrations.

A variety of conflicting duties delayed the completion of work on this collection, for which I can only apologise to the contributors and readers of the volume. It has been more than an embarrassment knowing that I had on my desk the texts of unpublished papers . . .

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