IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 1625: Texts and Identities, X: Death and Distinction in Merovingian Texts

Thursday 10 July 2008, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien / Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies, Universiteit Utrecht / Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
Organisers:Maximilian Diesenberger, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Gerda Heydemann, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien / Institut für Geschichte, Universität Wien
Rob Meens, Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies, Universiteit Utrecht
Moderator/Chair:Helmut Reimitz, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Paper 1625-aRoyal Widows and Gregory of Tours
(Language: English)
E. T. Dailey, School of History, University of Leeds
Paper 1625-bDesiderius of Vienne, Martyr and Activist: The Cultural and Political Background of the Vitae Desiderii
(Language: English)
Yaniv Fox, Department of General History, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva
Paper 1625-cThe So-Called Merovingian Saints testamenta
(Language: English)
Sylvie Joye, Département d’Histoire, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne
Abstract

The papers of this session examine, from different angles, individual and social identities and their textual construction in the Merovingian period and thereafter.
Erin Thomas Dailey takes a fresh look at Merovingian royal widows and specifically at Gregory of Tours’ literary strategies in representing them. By surveying what Gregory has to say about various royal widows, and also what he chooses not to say, this study intends to reveal new insights, not only into royal Merovingian widows, but also concerning Gregory himself and his works. Yaniv Fox examines the turbulent career, murder, and canonization of Desiderius of Vienne and his relations with the Merovingian court. The paper will address the writing of the two Vitae Desiderii, and the respective intentions and goals of their authors. The third paper (Silvie Joye) takes a look at Carolingian and post-Carolingian constructions of female social identities by analysing the ‘wills’ of Merovingian saintly monastic founders, like Aldegund and Radegund. These are known to be ambiguous documents: philologic and historical critique has strongly challenged their authenticity, and has demonstrated how much their Carolingian or post-Carolingian production has to do with the construction of the self-image of these communities. Nevertheless they remain of great interest: what are their sources? Are there links between all these wills? Is it a real Gattung? Are they memorial/hagiographic documents or does their juridical form give them legal force?