Charlemagne and the bishops
in Religious Franks
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This chapter explores how far episcopal action is better viewed in terms of individuals, rather than regional groupings, or collectively realm-wide. It also explores whether the character and tempo of bishops' activities changed in the course of the reign, with longer-run effects apparent after 814 as well. The chapter argues that bishops as an ordo in a huge realm had not reached a critical mass of collective self-consciousness. Bishops in local civitates and local landscapes, on the receiving end of the responses of lay folk and those of lesser clerical rank, adopted a version of Pope Gregory's condescensio. This or that local encounter or exchange connected the bishop with another royal agent or with Charlemagne himself. Only seldom is collective episcopal self-consciousness visible in the reign of Charlemagne, for the very good reason that contexts for any such manifestations were few and far between.

Religious Franks

Religion and power in the Frankish Kingdoms: studies in honour of Mayke de Jong


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