Jinty Nelson
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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.

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Religious Franks

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

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