Gregory of Tours: The Merovingians

Edited by Alexander Callander Murray

© 2005

Georgius Florentius Gregorius, better known to posterity as Gregory, Bishop of Tours, was born about 538 to a highly distinguished Gallo-Roman family in Clermont in the region of Auvergne. Best known for his 10-book Histories (often called the History of the Franks), Gregory left us detailed accounts of his own times as well as those of the early Merovingian kings, known as the "long-haired kings," who united the Franks and took control of most of Gaul in the late fifth and early sixth century. Although he is one of the most important historians of pre-modern times, the complex, apparently disconnected, elements of Gregory's work are often difficult for today's readers to understand. This selected, new translation is composed of extensive sections from Books II to X and follows in a connected narrative the political events of the Histories from the appearance of the first Merovingian kings, Merovech, Childeric, and Clovis to the last years of the reigns of Guntram and Childebert II in the late sixth century. This book is designed to introduce new readers, and even experienced ones, to the political world (secular and ecclesiastical) of sixth-century Gaul and to provide an up-to-date guide to reading the bishop of Tours' fascinating account of his times.

Included in this volume are twenty-one drawings by Jean-Paul Laurens, a nineteenth-century French historical artist and interpreter of the Merovingians.

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Product Details

  • Series: Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED DEC 2005

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    ISBN 9781551115238
  • PUBLISHED DEC 2005
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"With a sure sense of the needs of the classroom, Murray presents a clear, idiomatic translation and adds just enough commentary to guide readers through the text." - Walter Goffart, Yale University

Gregory of Tours: The Merovingians

Edited by Alexander Callander Murray

© 2005

Georgius Florentius Gregorius, better known to posterity as Gregory, Bishop of Tours, was born about 538 to a highly distinguished Gallo-Roman family in Clermont in the region of Auvergne. Best known for his 10-book Histories (often called the History of the Franks), Gregory left us detailed accounts of his own times as well as those of the early Merovingian kings, known as the "long-haired kings," who united the Franks and took control of most of Gaul in the late fifth and early sixth century. Although he is one of the most important historians of pre-modern times, the complex, apparently disconnected, elements of Gregory's work are often difficult for today's readers to understand. This selected, new translation is composed of extensive sections from Books II to X and follows in a connected narrative the political events of the Histories from the appearance of the first Merovingian kings, Merovech, Childeric, and Clovis to the last years of the reigns of Guntram and Childebert II in the late sixth century. This book is designed to introduce new readers, and even experienced ones, to the political world (secular and ecclesiastical) of sixth-century Gaul and to provide an up-to-date guide to reading the bishop of Tours' fascinating account of his times.

Included in this volume are twenty-one drawings by Jean-Paul Laurens, a nineteenth-century French historical artist and interpreter of the Merovingians.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    With a sure sense of the needs of the classroom, Murray presents a clear, idiomatic translation and adds just enough commentary to guide readers through the difficulties of the text.


    Walter Goffart, Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer in History, Yale University

    Alexander Murray, one of the world's leading specialists in Merovingian history, has provided an abridgement and excellent translation of Gregory's Ten Books along with a first-class introduction, and useful bibliography. The volume is completed by numerous study aids such as genealogies, high-quality maps, and a list of the civitates of Gaul. [...] I strongly recommend Murray's volume as the best and most consistent translation, even if abridged, of Gregory's Ten Books, in any language with which I am familiar. With the ancillary material provided by Murray, this volume is a formidable teaching tool.


    Bernard S. Bachrach, University of Toronto Quarterly
  • Author Information

    Alexander Callander Murray is a member of the Department of History and Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, where he teaches at the Erindale Campus. He is author of Germanic Kinship Structure: Studies in Law and Society in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (1983), editor of After Rome's Fall: Narrators and Sources of Early Medieval History (1998), and has written articles on Merovingian administration and office-holding, and on the dating of Beowulf.

  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations
    List of Genealogies
    List of Maps
    Abbreviations
    Preface
    Introduction
    Note on the Drawings of Jean-Paul Laurens
    Bibliography

    Part I: From Merovech to Clovis

    1. Origins of the Merovingian Kingdom (Book II )

    Part II: The Kingdom of the Franks, a. 511-575

    2. From the Death of Clovis to the Death of Chlothar I, a. 511-561 (Books III-IV)
    3. From the Division of Chlothar's Kingdom to the Death of Sigibert I, a. 561-575 (Book IV)

    Part III: The Reign of Childebert II, a. 576-591

    4. Succession of Childebert II and the Demise of Royal Cousins, a. 576-580 (Book V)
    5. From the Treaty of Nogent to the Death of Chilperic, a. 581-Fall 584 (Book VI)
    6. Aftermath of Chilperic's Death and the Revolt of Gundovald, Fall 584-Spring 585 (Book VII)
    7. Aftermath of Gundovald's Revolt, Summer 585-587 (Book VIII)
    8. Revolt in Austrasia and the Fall of Egidius, August 587-591 (Books IX-X)

    Epilogue and Postscripts
    Appendix: The Merovingian Bishop
    Genealogies
    Maps
    Index of Persons

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