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The Physical World Of The Frankish Councils

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Chapter Summary

In the year 590, the Austrasian king Childebert II ordered the bishops of his realm, who were scheduled to hold a synod in the city of Verdun that October, to travel to Metz the following month to officiate in a judicial hearing against Bishop Egidius of Rheims, who had been accused of treason. There were torrential rainstorms that fall, which turned the roads to mud and caused the rivers to overflow their banks. These were far from ideal traveling conditions, and the Austrasian bishops were in no mood to leave the comforts of their own civitates. Nevertheless, they were compelled by the royal command to brave the elements and participate in the trial. Gregory of Tours is our source for these events, and his account offers an important reminder that the reality of conciliar participation was neither as tidy nor as undemanding as suggested by the surviving canonical acta.

Keywords: Austrasian king Childebert II; Frankish councils; Roman



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