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healing and authority ii: enchanterS use none none printing togenerate none in none Microsoft Office Word Website In 580, torre none none ntial rains again brought flooding to parts of Gaul, and an earthquake at Bordeaux presaged a great plague accompanied by dysentery.167 That year also witnessed the emergence of another enchanter, unnamed but lowborn judging by his manner of speech, who traversed Gaul and gathered a following through an ostentatious Christian display: carrying a cross from which dangled small flasks said to contain holy oil he professed he came from Spain and said that he possessed relics of the blessed martyrs, Vincent the deacon and Felix the martyr. 168 Here was a wandering Christian healer of the sort that stationary churchmen such as Gregory would not have wanted offering an alternative to the medicines available at local saints tombs.

At Tours, the enchanter became put off by Gregory s initial slights, so he entered the bishop s cell without his leave. Next the traveler revealed how he possessed some degree of liturgical competence by conducting morning prayer in the oratory, although Gregory was none too impressed by the delivery. After praying, the enchanter left the city.

Note that in this instance, the bishop did not flinch at the arrival of the incantator despite his abrasive intrusion and lack of protocol. A short time later, the same character arrived in Paris and impudently challenged Bishop Ragnemod s scheduled Rogations processional by announcing that he would conduct his own tour of outlying holy places. As he was preparing to lead a column of publicans and peasant women (publicanis ac rusticis mulieribus), the city s archdeacon cordially invited the newcomer to set aside his relics and join the community feast, but the man responded by heaping insults on Ragnemod.

In next to no time, the bishop, presumably having loosed his zealous bodyguards, was holding the man in a detention cell and examining his wares: He found upon him a big bag filled with the roots of various plants; in it, too, were moles teeth, the bones of mice, bears claws and bear s fat. The bishop had all this thrown into the river, recognizing it as maleficia. 169 Ragnemod also confiscated the.

167. Greg. Tu r.

, Hist. 5.33.

168. Greg. Tur.

, Hist. 9.6 (MGH, SRM 1.

1, 418): crucem ferens, de qua dependebant ampullulae, quas dicebat oleam sanctum habere. Aiebat enim se de Hispaniis adventare ac reliquias beatissimorum martyrum Vincenti levitae Felicisque martyris exhibere. 169.

Greg. Tur., Hist.

9.6 (MGH, SRM 1.1, 418 19): invenit cum eo sacculum magnum plenum de radicibus diversarum herbarum, ibique et dentes talpae et ossa murium et ungues atque adipes.

Social mobility in late antique gaul large cross a nd showed the man to the Paris border , but the enchanter afterward simply built another cross and carried on as before in the same vicinity. Again the archdeacon captured and confined the wanderer, this time with chains, but the culprit escaped the cell. Then, however, he happened across some wine and soon passed out on the floor of Saint Julian s church (this one at Paris), where who should discover him but a visiting Bishop Gregory of Tours, in town for a church council! Gregory hoped to pardon the wretch, so he ordered that he be brought before the assembled prelates.

There Bishop Amelius of Bigorra recognized the culprit as his own runaway slave! Yet again a Gallic enchanter turned out to be a person of low rank trying to better his and others lives through wonderworking. Although Gregory might have meant his description of the contents in the magical bag to demean the healer, the items may be representative of the kind of fearful and awe-inspiring materia that incantatores actually used in their craft.170 The fact that the enchanter mixed Christian icons with traditional magic does not justify his, or those country people who acknowledged his powers, being characterized as representatives of a half-Christianized peasant world.

171 First, he was the slave of a bishop and knowledgeable about the liturgy, so it would not be surprising if he actually were a cleric of freed or servile rank. Second, his conglomeration of Christian and traditional magical materia confirms the extent to which Christian symbols had begun to represent awesome power, the very point Gallic ecclesiastics were. ursinos. Vide none none nsque haec maleficia esse, cuncta iussit in flumine proici Trans. based on Thorpe, Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks, 485.

170. Meeks, Magic and the Early Medieval World View, 289 92. 171.

Giselle de Nie, Caesarius of Arles and Gregory of Tours, 174, refers to these bishops communities as usually only half-converted, and similarly, ibid., 195, to the often only half-converted pagans who filled their churches. References to half-converted peasants are unhelpful in that they presuppose assumptions not unlike those of our elitist ecclesiastical authors who privileged their own theories about what behaviors were compatible with Christianity, and denigrated all others.

Those deemed the half-converted basically were maintaining traditional social survival techniques, essentially rural in nature, alien to certain bishops urban sensibilities and contrary to their centralizing city-based socio-religious agendas. Furthermore, comments about the half-converted convey a measure of historical inaccuracy commensurate with outmoded notions that only pagans and less spiritual Christians buried grave goods. Once commonly held theories that greater Christian spiritualization was responsible for drastic late seventh-century changes in burial customs, particularly the replacement of interment of grave goods with masses for the dead, are now deemed unconvincing; Effros, Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology, 86 88.

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