IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 722: Expressions of Friendship in Writing of the Early and Central Middle Ages

Tuesday 11 July 2006, 14.15-15.45

Organiser:John B. Dillon, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Moderator/Chair:William Schipper, Department of English Language & Literature, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Paper 722-aFriendship between Unequals in 6th-Century Francia: The Case of Venantius Fortunatus
(Language: English)
Michael Roberts, Department of Classical Studies, Wesleyan University, Connecticut
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Mentalities, Rhetoric
Paper 722-bWas Goscelin a Friend?: Amicitia and Spirituality in the Liber Confortatorius
(Language: English)
Mark F. Williams, Department of Classical Languages, Calvin College, Michigan
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Monasticism, Rhetoric
Abstract

abstract paper -a: In his verse correspondence Venantius Fortunatus typically adopts a pose of subservience to his addressees, whether they are secular magnates, church figures, or the women of the Convent of the Holy Cross. While his letters conform to some traditional aspects of late Roman friendship relations – the expectation of exchange of correspondence, for instance – Fortunatus rarely employs the language of mutual moral obligation. In this paper I will explore the distinctive quality of Fortunatus’ friendships and the unusual degree of dependence he expresses on his friends.

abstract paper -b: Recent scholarship on Goscelin of St Bertin sometimes suggests that he was in the 12th-century tradition of spiritual friendship. This seems to be anachronistic: Goscelin was an 11th-century writer who may not have even lived into the 12th century. The vocabulary and the Latinity of his Liber Confortatorius suggest instead a transitional figure who is more interested in issues other than friendship. At the most, friendship for Goscelin was subsumed under monastic obligations of service to God and a more or less undifferentiated and unexclusive love of one’s monastic brothers and sisters; it appears never to have been an end in itself.