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Rome, Canterbury And Wearmouth-Jarrow: Three Viewpoints On Augustine’s Mission

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Chapter Summary

The mission sent from Rome to Kent by Gregory the Great in 596 is one of the best-documented episodes in the history of conversion in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Bede?s Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, completed by around 731, compiles a narrative account, based in part on materials obtained from the papal archives and from the traditions of the see founded by Augustine at Canterbury. Additionally, archaeology has in recent years revealed quite a lot about late sixth-century Rome, something of late and post-Roman Canterbury, and rather more of the joint monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow in which Bede lived. Bede?s narrative of the Synod of Augustine?s Oak describes the unsuccessful attempt by Augustine to impose the metropolitan authority over the seven British bishops with which the pope had invested him.

Keywords: Augustine; Bede; Canterbury; Gregory; Rome; Wearmouth-Jarrow



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