From Pelagius to Gildas

T. M. Charles-Edwards

in Wales and the Britons, 350-1064

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780198217312
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744778 | DOI:

Series: History of Wales

From Pelagius to Gildas

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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At the end of the fourth century, the culture of the Latin‐speaking part of the Empire was still one in which provincial intellectuals were attracted to Rome. In the sixth century they remained at home; if they migrated they did so within the British lands (including Brittany) or across the sea to Ireland. Three Britons, Pelagius, Faustus, and Gildas, exemplify these changes. Pelagius gained fame in Rome in the late‐fourth century; in the early‐fifth century, Faustus migrated as far as Provence, where he became abbot of Lérins, in his lifetime the most influential monastery in western Europe. He later became bishop of Riez. He retained links with Britain and may be the source of one of the most important pieces of evidence on Anglo‐Saxon conquests in his homeland. Gildas was the author of the one major work to survive from sixth‐century Britain, a prophetic denunciation of the sins of the British elite.

Keywords: The shift from a metropolitan to a provincial culture; Pelagius; Faustus; Gildas; the law of the church

Chapter.  15855 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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