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Latin Historiography and the Barbarian Kingdoms

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is concerned with surveying the works of various sixth-century Latin historians (the anonymous Italian writer of the Excerpta Valesiana, Cassiodorus, Jordanes, Gildas and Gregory of Tours) with a focus on how they conceptualised and executed their historiographical task, as well as how their audience and purpose influenced their historical narratives. As investigations of sixth century culture and society have begun to displace explanatory paradigms of decline and fall with those of change and continuity, the focus has now shifted to understanding the development of Christian literary culture and to delineating its distinctive and novel features. By the sixth century, however, the sharp distinctions between church and state, between sacred and profane, and between 'Roman' and 'barbarian', with which Eusebius and Augustine had grappled, had given way to a more integrated view of public and private life in a Christian world.

Keywords: Augustine; barbarian kingdoms; Christian literary culture; church; Eusebius; Latin historiography; Roman



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