The Church and the Barbarian Invasions in the West: Salvian, Sidonius, Caesarius

Henry Chadwick

in The Church in Ancient Society

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246953
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600463 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

 The Church and the Barbarian Invasions in the West: Salvian, Sidonius, Caesarius

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Discusses the position of the Church in Western Europe during the fifth and sixth centuries in the face of invasions by Arian and pagan barbarians. The major questions included the reaction of Christian thinkers to the collapse of the western empire, the matter of primacy among the sees of Gaul, relations with barbarian rulers, and heterodox movements in Spain and the British Isles. The western emperors’ inability to stop the barbarian conquests in Gaul and Spain and the primacy of barbarian army commanders in Italy led Christians to reflect on the corruption and unworthiness of the empire. The exceptionally gloomy opinions of Salvian of Marseille in the mid‐fifth century led him to lay down strict moral guidelines for the Christian life; Appolinaris Sidonius of Clermont produced similar rules for the clergy; and Caesarius of Arles asserted the overriding privileges of Arles in Gaul and played a considerable part in holding the Church together amid conditions of political disintegration. In Spain, conditions during the fifth century were chaotic and Roman authority distant.

Keywords: British Isles; Caesarius; Gaul; Germany; Italy; papacy; Salvian; Appolinaris Sidonius; Spain

Chapter.  11902 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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