In the Middle Ages, the historians wrote with a specific purpose and vision in mind. The Mediaeval West wanted a distinctively Christian society, and the historians during this time wrote down the res gesta with the intent of fostering this society, by either attempting to persuade their readers to pursue certain courses of action in their daily life by representative examples of behavior to follow, or they recorded historical happenings with a sense of the spiritual, showing that God was behind the faithful, aiding them in their successes. In Gregory of Tours’ Historiae, (Gregory’s approach to writing history is meant to teach by example and urge Christians in staying faithful).
From Gregory’s Preface in the Historiae, Gregory says he writes history for the reason that no one learned enough in the skill of writing is there to record the events of his time for future generations (for the people lament:) Vae diebus nostris, quia periit studium litterarum a nobis, nec reperitur rethor in populis, qui gesta praesentia promulgare possit in paginis. This is Gregory’s reason for writing his Historiae at a basic level, but once one looks past his modest motive for writing the Historiae, one sees that his history is world history in the biggest sense, for it starts at the beginning of the world, with Adam and Eve, working its way through all the important events of the Old Testament, centering on Christ’s Incarnation, and then moving along to the events of the New Testament with the Apostles, the martyrs, and then progressing to his own times, the saints lives then, and the happenings among the Franks. Harrington and Pucci comment on how “Gregory’s narrative is organized around the pinciples of Christian teleology, an order affirmed in the presence of so much sacred material at the start of the Histories.”(pg.149) Truly, with starting out at the creation of the world, one sees Gregory using the sacred... [continues]
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