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The Social Life of Hagiography in the Merovingian Kingdom


Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series

  • Date Published: October 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107658394

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About the Authors
  • This book charts the influence of Christian ideas about social responsibility on the legal, fiscal and operational policies of the Merovingian government, which consistently depended upon the collaboration of kings and elites to succeed, and it shows how a set of stories transformed the political playing field in early medieval Gaul. Contemporary thinkers encouraged this development by writing political arguments in the form of hagiography, more to redefine the rules and resources of elite culture than to promote saints' cults. Jamie Kreiner explores how hagiographers were able to do this effectively, by layering their arguments with different rhetorical and cognitive strategies while keeping the surface narratives entertaining. The result was a subtle and captivating literature that gives us new ways of thinking about how ideas and institutions can change, and how the vibrancy of Merovingian culture inspired subsequent Carolingian developments.

    • Addresses the theory and practice of history in accessible terms
    • Combines various historical methods to provide a new model for analysing already well-studied fields of history and historical texts
    • Connects two historical periods, the Merovingian and the Carolingian, that are normally isolated from each other in monographs
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Kreiner is both an engaging analyst of hagiography and an efficient guide through the 'real world' of Merovingian society. … provides us with a rich and subtle examination of the way that hagiographical literature could be constructed in the early Middle Ages.' Richard Sowerby, Early Medieval Europe

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107658394
    • length: 341 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Hagiographical argument and legal culture
    2. The style and science of persuasion
    3. Double-scope narrative and the economy of government
    4. Property and community beyond the cult
    5. The Carolingian synthesis

  • Author

    Jamie Kreiner, University of Georgia
    Jamie Kreiner is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Georgia where she researches and teaches the history of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

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