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Gregory of Tours (538-594) was a historian of his time and place. His primary concerns were shaped by his theological, ecclesiastical, and political commitments: western orthodoxy, the Roman Catholic Church, and Merovingian Gaul. It thus is surprising that in his famous Ten Books of Histories he takes a more than passing interest in the eastern Roman Emperor and empire. This article explores Gregory’s passages on imperial Rome and argues that they were intended to highlight the virtues and vices of particular Merovingian kings in comparison with particular Roman emperors. Also, Gregory meant to subtly point to the dangers of Merovingian and imperial entanglements.

About the Author

Robert Winn earned his Ph.D. in the Early Christian Studies program at the Catholic University of America, and his degree focused on two examination areas: late antique history and Greek and Latin patristics. His research interests include religious and intellectual history in Late Antiqiuity and the early Middle Ages. Prior to joining Northwestern’s faculty, he was a visiting professor at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Winn is the author of Eusebius of Emesa: Church and Theology in the Mid-Fourth Century, which was published by The Catholic University of America Press in 2011. His published articles have appeared in the Journal of Early Christian Studies and Vigiliae Christianae., and he has presented papers at the International Conference on Patristic Studies at Oxford University. His most recent conference papers, both read at the International Congress on Medieval Studies (2011 and 2012), were entitled “Lessons from Lesser Kings: Books IV and V of Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica” and “On Avarice: Eusebius of Emesa and John Chrysostom.”

Winn currently has two long term research projects: (1) a study of Bede as an exegete and historian in the context of early medieval historiography and (2) a book intended for an undergraduate audience that surveys the political and religious history of the late Roman Empire and early Middle Ages. It is tentatively titled Empire and Church from Constantine to Charlemagne.



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