Vexilla regis (“Banner of the King,” hymn written by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609) for Queen Radegund, to celebrate the arrival of a relic of the True Cross sent by the emperor and empress for Radegund’s new convent at Poitiers; 3:41 min.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZ3YO7Cw3fI
What is a primary source? What is a secondary source? Why do historians need to use both?
EARLY WESTERN CHRISTENDOM, c. 500-700
After Roman imperial power collapsed in the West in the later 5th century, a patchwork of kingdoms and lordships developed (e.g., the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England, Merovingian Gaul, Visigothic Iberia, etc.).
Early medieval Western society was a blend of Roman, Celtic, and Germanic peoples and cultures, with Latin Christianity as its most unifying feature.
Christianity began as an urban-based religion, and it retained an urban focus (cathedrals, the headquarters of bishops and archbishops, were always in cities), even as urban life was crumbling in the West.
New evidence suggests that a worsening climate (in part caused by ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland in 536) and pestilence also struck Europe at this time, and that there was a widespread pattern of abandonment of former Roman farms.
Some important people and primary sources:
St. Radegund (d. 587), Merovingian queen who abandoned the court for monastic life (click here for 11th-cent. depiction of Radegund).
The Life of St. Radegund, by Venantius Fortunatus (d. 609), is a reverent biography, written by a close associate.
(Click here to see Radegund’s tomb in Poitiers and her reading desk)
Gregory, bishop of Tours (d. 594), History of the Franks
Some important terms:
Monastery or convent
Monastic rule (e.g., the Rule of St. Benedict)
Regular clergy (Latin regula = rule)
Abbot (or abbess)
Monk (or nun)
Pope (=bishop of Rome)
Archdiocese or province or see
Diocese or see
Cathedral (=church containing the cathedra or throne of a bishop or archbishop)
Secular clergy (not living under a Rule)
St. Benedict of Nursia (c. 480 – c. 550), Benedictine Rule:
Triple vows (obedience, stability, conversion of manners)
Opus dei (= “work of God”) — worship service before dawn (vigils), plus 7 daytime worship services (Matins, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, Compline)
- Church (with stalls for all monks or nuns in the choir)
- Chapter house
- Typical arrangement of principal monastic buildings
Some important people and sources:
Pope Gregory I “the Great” (590-604), 4th Doctor of the Latin Church, Pastoral Care, Life of St. Benedict
Isidore, bishop of Seville (d. 636), Etymologies
St. Benedict of Nursia (c. 480 – c. 550), Benedictine Rule
The Venerable Bede (d. 735), Ecclesiastical History of the English People: Descriptions of Italian missionaries in England in the early 600s.
St. Augustine of Canterbury (mission to England, 597-604)
King Ethelbert (r. 560-616) and Queen Bertha of Kent (died c. 612)
King Edwin (d. 632) and Queen Ethelburga of Northumbria
Hilda, Abbess of Whitby (King Edwin’s great-niece, 614-680), hosted Synod of Whitby (664)
Click on the following to see some important surviving artifacts:
Book of Durrow (c. 650-700) and Book of Kells (c. 800) . Illustrated Gospels, written in monasteries in Northumbria (N. England), Scotland, or Ireland See also: Book of Kells (detail1) and Book of Kells (detail2)
Codex Amiatinus Illustrated Bible, written at the monasteries of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow in Northumbria, early 8th century. Abbot Ceolfrith died while on his way to Rome to present these volumes to the pope in 716.