Macquarie University
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The construction of episcopal authority in late antique Gaul: a case study of the role of canon law from the sixth century

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posted on 2022-03-28, 23:43 authored by Susan Loftus
A number of authorities were transformed in the late antique successor kingdoms of Gaul. The Christian community, Church councils and affairs including episcopal appointments were areas where there was an opportunity for the new kings to participate and to develop their own influence. The connection between the episcopal appointments and a bishop's authority and legitimacy was elementary, however it has not been considered in this period. Therefore the foundational terminology and procedures for episcopal appointments and their connections to the bishop's overall authority and legitimacy are the focus of this thesis. The aims are to examine how the procedures for ecclesiastical appointments were developed through their earliest traditions from other religions and from the Roman institutions. Following a review of the current scholarship and a discussion on the sources, the thesis examines the earliest terminology for leadership appointment in the first Church councils and early Christian writers, followed by a study of the Gallic church councils their role and function in the new successor kingdoms of the Franks, Burgundians and other barbarian dominated areas. The next three chapters analyse the council texts for the terminology of the reference to ordination, election or consecration and compare them to the accounts of such procedures in the other genres. The penultimate chapter considers the ecclesiastical appointments of a family of bishops in the first hundred years of the Frankish period.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction and background -- Chapter 2. The role of church councils and their legislation : their function as the foundation and continuity of episcopal authority -- Chapter 3. The tradition of ordination, election and consecration -- Chapter 4. Episcopal ordination in Gaul 500-696 : Terminology and procedure -- Chapter 5. Examination of episcopal elections in the Concilia Galliae and narrative -- Chapter 6. Episcopal consecration and contemporary religious practice in late antique Gaul : ideal and reality -- Chapter 7. Case studies of the family of Gregorius Attalus -- Chapter 8. Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 301-328 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ancient History

Department, Centre or School

Department of Ancient History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Alanna Nobbs

Additional Supervisor 1

Stephen R. Llewelyn

Additional Supervisor 2

Paul McKechnie


Copyright Susan Loftus 2014. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (xii, 414 pages) colour illustrations, maps

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