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Gregory of Tours’ and Augustine Religion Views Essay

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Updated: Apr 30th, 2020

People learn history from different accounts of their ancestors. Apart from particular events, it is possible to trace certain changes in the society when analyzing these texts. Thus, Gregory’s story of the “most serious civil discord” does not simply provide insights into certain events which took place but reveals secrets of the way people used to think and express their ideas at that period (Gregory of Tours 428). This becomes even more obvious when the text is compared with a later work by Augustine. It is possible to compare these two works to depict peculiarities of people’s writing and thinking in the medieval time.

Gregory of Tours writes in a very specific way. He simply enumerates events. There are only a few attempts to explain why something has happened and the major part of the writing is an account of certain events. In contrast, Augustine tends to explain, “She loved the man as an angel of God because she had learned that it was by him that I had been brought so far” (Augustine 96). Therefore, later writers tried to find the connection between the cause and effect.

Another distinctive feature is the writing style. Thus, Gregory of Tours does not adorn his story with many adjectives. Augustine, one the contrary, tells his stories using loads of adjectives. More so, he often addresses God in his story while Gregory of Tours mentions God only occasionally. It can be a sign of the increased role of faith and Catholicism in the life of people.

In conclusion, it is possible to state that the two writings in question show that religion was starting to play a more important part. Obviously, people become more focused on faith and the role of the divine force in their lives. Gregory of Tours was focused on events while Augustine tried to give the connections between the cause and effect.

The two books provide an in-depth analysis of the transition of the ancient world into the medieval era. It is necessary to note that these authors do not support the idea that it was a smooth transition. The authors do not focus on that part but try to provide numerous facts and tell a variety of stories to make people see what the life was like between 200 and 900 A.D.

Notably, the authors are not interested in this matter as they believe that all “empires have, sooner or later, come to an end” (Ward-Perkins 57). Remarkably, the two authors stress that religions which were carved at that period became most powerful tools of development of the human society. Christianity and Islam became religions “of the masses” in the western and eastern worlds respectively (Brown and Barraclough 110). Personally, I cannot single out a more helpful source as the two books provide different insights into historical events of that period.

Numerous barbarian tribes invaded the land of the former Roman Empire in the 9th century A.D. Thus, Magyars came from the east and invaded the eastern part of the empire and Italian peninsula. Muslims attacked and invaded the southern part of the former empire, and Italian and French coastal areas were affected. Vikings invaded northern regions. Swedes invaded the territory of the Central Europe.

Barbarians’ invasion had a profound effect on the further development of Europe. Apart from economic impact and the fall of the Roman Empire the invasion led to changes in the cultural life of people who lived in the 9th century. Numerous people of different cultural backgrounds with certain customs and beliefs mingled and created new cultures and new nations. Of course, this was all accompanied by development of major religions.

Beowulf is one of the most comprehensive sources which can reveal Vikings’ mentality. Clearly, they were warriors who were not afraid of death. Importantly, they valued honor above all and each of the warriors could say, “I shall / win honor and fame, or death will take me!” (Beowulf 53). These lines suggest that people were ready to die. This can also explain their successful invasion into a more ‘idle’ civilized world. The pictures of numerous battles and warriors’ claims also show how important war was for them.

It is possible to note that Early Christian art was based on the Roman artistic tradition but it had numerous differences. One of major differences is that Christian art was focused on ideas and iconic representation of everything. Thus, while Roman art was very realistic, Christian art changed realistic forms into more iconic ones and full of symbolism. The major aim of the Roman art was to show the realm of nature while the Christian art was concerned with the realm of the spiritual world and divine forces.

Roman Basilicas were the center of public life in the Roman Empire. Of course, people got used to gathering there and the site became associated with something important for the good of all. People also had enormous respect towards thee places. Christian emperors were unsure whether new buildings could become that respected and decided to use those old constructions. Clearly, they were filled with symbols of Christianity and soon people forgot about the past of basilicas and started treating them as churches.

Works Cited

Augustine. Confessions. Trans. F.J. Sheed. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing, 2007. Print.

Beowulf. Trans. Roy Liuzza. Orchard Park, NY: Broadview Press, 1999. Print.

Brown, Peter, and Geoffrey Barraclough. The World of Late Antiquity: AD 150-750. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1989. Print.

Gregory of Tours. The History of the Franks. Trans. Lewis Thorpe. New York, NY: Penguin Classics, 1974. Print.

Ward-Perkins, Bryan. The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006. Print.

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