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Title: Building Little Romes: Christianity, Identity, and Governance in Late Antique Gaul
Authors: Eisenberg, Merle
Advisors: Reimitz, Helmut
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Early Medieval
Late Antiquity
Subjects: History
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines the transformation of communities in post-Roman southern Gaul from 450 to 600 C.E. It investigates the political end of Rome from local perspectives to demonstrate that individuals and communities were not passive recipients of the transformation of the Roman world, but active agents of change, shifting normative concepts and conduct. These communities were, in their own minds, little Romes. This dissertation reveals how Christian identity become more central to daily life in southern Gaul through debates over communal jurisdiction, ideas of local homelands, and sexual norms as late Roman concepts gave way to new, localized, and initially amorphous post-Roman political and religious authorities. In doing so, it makes three arguments. First, it argues what it meant to be Christian was far from settled in the communities of late antique Gaul and that definitions of proper conduct were unclear about questions of practice, sexuality, and pastoral power. Second, it contends that political rulers deliberately did not debate questions of moral living, since no accepted idea of “being Christian” yet existed. Gallic spiritual communities could not agree on how to live as Christians, so when regional states tried to impose uniformity on religious norms, further disorder was the result. Finally, it was only at the end of the sixth century, as Merovingian rulers integrated Gaul into a cohesive entity, that ecclesiastical leaders codified normative positions on the difficult questions of church jurisdictions, religious and secular homelands, and proper sexual behavior.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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