Death and dying of bishops in Merovingian times – Gregory of Tours and his Decem Libri Historiarum

  • Matthias Weber Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Palavras-chave: Bishop, Death, Gregory of Tours


Gregory of Tours, the most important writer in 6th-century Gaul, demonstrates within his Ten Books a clear understanding both of the bishop’s office and of dying, death and afterlife. In the tradition of the Bible and the patristics, especially Ambrose and Augustine, Gregory uses descriptions of death, especially cases of episcopal death, to underline his point of view. Fur-thermore, Gregory uses concepts of a “good” and a “bad” death to stress the bishop’s position compared to other groups like the Merovingian kings. The Ten Books present almost 100 de-scriptions of episcopal death, examples of “good”, “bad”, also “realistic” cases of death, but no orthodox bishop, according to Gregory’s own evaluation, dies a “bad”, a cruel or unworthy death.
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