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Lethe and ‘Delete’—Discarding the Past in the Early Middle Ages: The Case of Fredegar

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Chapter Summary

The short passage on motherly advice from the Chronicarum Fredegarii libri IV personifies the origin of the irrational barbarian drive to destroy - or 'delete' - Gallo-Roman civilisation. Fredegar's main source derives from a passage in the first book of the Histories of Gregory of Tours (I, 32). Fredegar's adaption of the text is not noticeably shorter. It is placed in the second section of book II, which he describes as the summary of the histories of Jerome and Hydatius - not mentioning the name Gregory as the source at all. Fredegar applies a great variety of techniques to change the past, to make things forgotten or to superimpose elements more important to him upon other elements. This practice of destructing works by precursors brings back to the advice given by Chrocus' mother. On an abstract level, the motherly advice can be seen as a revolutionary modern conviction.

Keywords: Chrocus' mother; Chronicarum Fredegarii libri IV; Fredegar; Gregory of Tours; Histories; Hydatius; Jerome



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