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What were the aims of Gregory of Tours 'History of the Franks' - Essay Example

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Born of Florentius and Armentaria in Auvergne on November 30 538-39, Gregory of Tours was a descendant of a distinguished Gallo-Roman family…
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What were the aims of Gregory of Tours History of the Franks
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"What were the aims of Gregory of Tours 'History of the Franks'"

Download file to see previous pages As a youth, Gregory lived with his uncles Nicetius and Archdeacon Avitus who later became bishop of Lyons and bishop of Clermont respectively. His education was in church schools and primarily limited to a study of the scripture. In fact, he was educated by his own uncle Gallus, who was the Bishop of Clermont. 1Platts points out that “Gregory distinguished himself so much by his learning and virtue, that in 573, he was chosen bishop of Tours”. Gregory had already been ordained a deacon by 565. He was chosen to succeed Eufronius, his mother’s cousin as the nineteenth bishop of tours in 573. After being chosen bishop of Tours, Gregory went to Rome where he visited the tombs of various Apostles and cultivated friendship with Gregory the Great. Gregory’s life being a bishop was not easy. Despite being the site of the fourth-century bishop of Tours, it was also a territory accustomed to conflicts between the kings of Frank such as Sigibert and Chilperic. In 585, Gregory was opposed by a coalition formed by a section of the Touraine clergy, the enemies of the Austrasian family and the count of the city. During this time Touraine was being disputed by Merovingian princes. Despite being a person who respected authority, Gregory got involved in these political quarrels as he attempted to defend the rights of Saint Martin. However, he had more quite relations with successors of Chilperic. Although he could not maintain his authority in a province divided among a number of different kingdoms, he did new things in Tours and prolonged Saint Martin’s authority. Gregory died in Tours on November 17 in 593 or 594. By the time of his death, he had made many accomplishments among them being the work of rebuilding Tours cathedral as well as improving its collection of relic materials. There have been various debates in the past on Gregory’s aim for writing the history of the Franks. To begin with, the title ‘history of the Franks’ gives an impression that his work is primarily based on history. Anyone who reads the title will believe that the principle behind the work is the history of the Merovingian and Frankish kingdoms, their kings and successors. In fact, the topics range from attempts by Clovis to eliminate Frankish kings who were his rivals. He also gives accounts of natural disasters that characterised his times like the cataclysmic floods. However, Gregory’s intention was not to write a political history but rather to intertwine both ecclesiastical and secular history in order to pass his message. The word history is contrary to what Gregory wanted to convey in his work the history of the Franks. But for Gregory and other ancient writers such as Herodotus the word Historiae is used to refer to an account of witnessed events rather than events heard of. In fact, six among the ten books Gregory wrote revolve around his own times. In book one, Gregory goes back to the creation of man, some events in the Old Testament and ends with the death of bishop Martin of Tours. In book two he discusses the disputes that took place between early Frankish kings and ends with Clovis’s death. In book three, he discusses the fortunes of Clovis’s sons and from the fourth book; he discusses his early life, family and events during his times. Gregory wrote the history of the Franks; the lives of the saints among other works. He remains one of the most gifted and creative writers of the middle ages. He is also one of the most prominent early medieval sacred biographers. Through his work, the history of the Franks Gregory reveals the political turmoil’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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