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5. Gregory and the Greek East

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Chapter Summary

It has long been recognized that Gregory the Great stood at crossroads, both geographical and chronological. This paper eschews attempts to implicate Gregory's life within a grander narrative of rise or decline, important though such attempts are, and assays instead to situate and understand him within his own context. In 579, before his election as pope, Gregory had been dispatched to Constantinople as apocrisarius. Gregory's protest occurred at a time of considerable tension with the emperor and patriarch at Constantinople, when the pope had signed an independent treaty with the Lombards. The coincidence, which demonstrates the remarkable prestige which Gregory enjoyed within Moschus' monastic circle, perhaps represents nothing more than simple admiration for a pope whose connections with the Chalcedonian east. While Gregory's abilities in the Greek language were limited at best, he nevertheless remained integrated within the eastern Mediterranean through a complex network of political, economic and cultural ties.

Keywords: apocrisarius; Constantinople; Greek language; Gregory; Moschus' monastic circle; pope



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