From self-representation to episcopal model. The case of the eloquent bishops Ambrose of Milan and Gregory the Great
Bishops were expected to live up to high standards. Since the earliest Christian centuries this had triggered the need for the definition of models that the holders of the episcopal office could take as both worthy and powerful examples. Ambrose's and Gregory the Great's self-representations, the testimonies of their contemporaries and their Carolingian biographies show that one particular feature stood out as a required and appropriate episcopal skill: the mastery of speech. Despite the labels Ambrose and Gregory the Great used to describe themselves as holders of the episcopal office, their fama relied first and foremost on their skills as eloquent speakers. This chapter is dedicated to self-portrayal and deals with contemporary testimonies of Ambrose's and Gregory's episcopate. It focuses on the Carolingian re-shaping of their memory as examples of life and morality to be presented to bishops.