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2. Gregory’s Missions to the Barbarians

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Chapter Summary

When Gregory was ordained bishop, Rome, though in theory still one of the empire's dual capitals, had become in fact a provincial town, subject to the imperial government in Constantinople. Gregory used the terms gentes and barbari to refer to non-Romans, following a terminology common in the Latin sources. Some of Gregory's early letters to Italian bishops suggest that he tried to attract Lombards to the Roman Church. The Franks lived in the Lower Rhine and in northern Gaul. Under King Clovis (481/82-511) they expanded their realm to include most of southern Gaul. They also became the first barbarian people to convert officially to Catholic Christianity. Gregory's correspondence with the Franks began in the year following the Lombard siege of Rome (593-94). Finally, Gregory hoped and believed that this faith was destined to spread amongst all peoples before the end of ages was fulfilled.

Keywords: Constantinople; Franks; Gregory; Italian bishops; Roman church



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