We know that the British churchman Gildas wrote the work De excidio et conquestu Britanniae. It includes scarcely any hints of dates and few names of people or places. It is therefore unknown exactly when or where Gildas wrote his polemic. The dating of the text has been discussed since the Middle Ages producing a variety of theories. In this presentation as a contribution to the IMC 2019 theme of Medieval Materialities I will contextualise the production of Gildas’ work. With reference to previous theories I will conclude by presenting my own interpretation of where the work was probably written.
Gregory of Tours justified the inclusion of saints and miracles in his Histories as a part of his truthful narrative (Histories II.pref.), but this does not explain why he wrote about the same events differently in his hagiography. Gregory’s hagiography is overwhelmingly simplistic, whilst the Histories is rife with contradictions and confusion. By comparing two of the saints whom Gregory chose to write about in both – Eparchius (Histories VI.8, Glory of the Confessors 99), and Aravatius (Histories II.5, Glory of the Confessors 71) – it becomes clear that Gregory favoured the Histories as a place for social context and his dark humour. The argument for Gregory’s Histories as a handbook for clerical elites is well-established; this paper will go further by proposing that complex saints and miracles in the Histories were included to satirise the instant gratification that was common in early medieval hagiography.