Christian Discourse and Political Identities in Early Medieval Europe

This project part addresses the role of Christianity in the shaping of communities in late antique and early medieval Europe. This was a formative period in which important resources for later developments in the history of Europe were accumulated: eventually, this led to the emergence of a complex political landscape shaped by Christian, ethnic, imperial, civic and territorial identifications. Contrary to what historians have long believed, the ethnic (‘national’) identities that were created between c. 300 and c. 1100 AD were neither stable nor lasting. Rather, what developed was some consensus about the – ethnic and Christian – legitimation of power and about models of social integration. A differentiated Christian discourse framed a political culture in which the religious sphere was considered (to an extent) as distinct from worldly power and at the same time as deeply intertwined with it. This dynamic tension continued until the rise of modern nationhood, which was considered as an alternative to the universal Church, but was also deeply imbued with sacred rites and values

Illustration: Sacramentarium Gelasianum. Frontispice et Incipit. France. Milieu du VIIIe siècle. Vatican. Bibliothèque Apostolique. Reg. Lat. 316. Folios 131v/132. (Wiki Commons)

Last Update: 17.07.19