Professor Freedman begins his discussion of Gregory of Tours’ history of the Merovingian kings. This history differs markedly from the classical invective style used by Procopius. Gregory of Tours’ account seems more random by comparison and emphasizes the intervention of the supernatural in everyday life, particularly through the miracles of St. Martin of Tours. Gregory begins his account by showing how Clovis established Frankish hegemony and secured the prominence of the Franks in the post-Roman West. That the Franks were the first Catholic (as opposed to Arian) people among the barbarian invaders also figures heavily in his account. Professor Freedman ends the lecture with a discussion of Clovis’ sons, among whom Clovis had divided his empire. Despite their violent internecine conflicts, Gregory of Tours considers them and their father to be appropriate rulers for savage times.
Major developments in the political, social, and religious history of Western Europe from the accession of Diocletian to the feudal transformation. Topics include the conversion of Europe to Christianity, the fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of Islam and the Arabs, the "Dark Ages," Charlemagne and the Carolingian renaissance, and the Viking and Hungarian invasions.
Original Course Name: HIST 210: The Early Middle Ages, 284–1000.