Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

18.8.05

Totally random history!

In the comments section of this post, the Pilgrim/Heretic mentioned that there are more Merovingianists out there than I probably would guess. Although I tend to disagree with her, because despite the popularity of such hack novels as The Da Vinci Code (which I enjoyed, before anyone tells me it's good literature - it's crap, but I still liked it), Merovingians haven't been thrust into the limelight like the Templars have. So sad. But that comment got me thinking - I'm technically a historian, but I don't often blog about the thing that fascinates me more than anything - medieval history. Yes, even more than comic books. Yes, even more than telling celebrities to shut up. Medieval history RULES, man!

It also got me thinking about why more people don't like history. It seems like most of my students always talked about how boring history was, and I just couldn't believe it. History is anything but boring. Occasionally the presentation of history can be boring, and that's where most people get their attitudes. They just haven't had me teach them history, damn it! When I'm teaching history, it's all about sex and violence. Because isn't that what humanity is all about?

Anyway, I thought I would share completely random selections from historians of the past. These guys weren't writing the filtered history we get today. Sure, they had an agenda, but it certainly wasn't boring school children. Most writers, especially from medieval Europe, were writing to show what happens to people who fuck with God. That's what made them so much fun. If history was still written like it was back in the day, more people would like history. And isn't that what it's all about?

Our first selection comes from the giant of Merovingian history, Gregory the Bishop of Tours (c. 538-594). No, I didn't pick him because his name is Gregory. I picked him because his major work, The History of the Franks (or The Ten Books of History) is brilliant propaganda and a fun read. Here's today's random and out-of-context selection, from Book VI, chapter 12:

When King Chilperic saw how frequently these disagreements kept occurring between his brother and his nephew, he summoned Duke Desiderius and ordered him to launch a particularly savage attack upon King Guntram. Desiderius put an army into the field, beat Duke Ragnovald and made him seek safety in flight, and then occupied Périgueux. He exacted an oath of loyalty from the Périgourdins and then marched on Agen. As soon as Ragnovald's wife realized that, now that her husband had been forced to flee, this city in its turn must fall into the hands of King Chilperic, she sought sanctuary in the church of the martyr Saint Caprasius. She was forced to come out, they robbed her of all her possessions, took away her servants, and only allowed her to set out for Toulouse when she had paid over a sum of money as a surety. She took up residence in the church of Saint Saturninus in that city. Desiderius captured all the other cities which owed allegiance to King Guntram in the region and handed them over to Chilperic. Duke Berulf learned that the men of Bourges were planning to invade the district round Tours. He marched his army in that direction and occupied the area. The territory round Yzeures and Barrou, which are near the city of Tours, was completely devastated. Later on all those who had not been able to take part in Berulf's expedition were cruelly punished.

Damsels in distress! Jerk-off kings! Violation of sanctuary! Devastation! When will the madness end???

Guntram and Chilperic were half-brothers, by the way. They didn't like each other, which is pretty much par for the course in Merovingian history. It's one big family feud down through two centuries. Good stuff. Chilperic was assassinated a few years after these events took place. Gregory sheds no tears for him.

More on Merovingian history can be found here. More on Gregory of Tours is here. Buy Gregory of Tours' masterpiece here.

Remember, I'm still giving stuff away! I have a few entries, so the rest of you better get in gear!

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh, I've read Gregory of Tours and I've got to say I didn't like it. I found it boring.
Roman history however, I love. Tacitus is the greatest writer the world ever produced, Caesar's commentaries are excellent, and Brutus' letter to Cicero, number 25 in the collection, is the finest piece of literature I've ever seen.
But I do like Procopius, who can be considered medieval, I think.

18/8/05 5:14 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

Yay history! I think history is exciting.

18/8/05 6:15 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Gregory of Tours, boring? For shame!

I have Tacitus and Procopius, and you can bet we'll be checking into The Secret History. Now that's good stuff!

Hi, PBS. I think history is exciting too.

18/8/05 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For far more excitement and more source material, visit 12th century England and the reign of Henry II and his bride, Eleanor of Acquitaine. Better yet, read about Henry's career and his family's history and compare them to the Arthurian legends (in Latin, German, French and English) that proliferated during the 12th century, mostly due to the patronage of Eleanor's daughter, Marie of Champagne, and the elusive Richard Lionhart. Check it out. That was the thesis I REALLY wanted to write.

Greg's pal, Barbara

18/8/05 7:57 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

See, Barbara, one of these days I'm going to finish your damned thesis, and then I will blog endlessly about that.

I love the 12th century. I don't have a lot of primary docs about it, though. Yes, I suck. The Merovingians still rule, though. Chlothar II could kick Henry II's ASS! But Eleanor could probably kick both of their asses.

18/8/05 9:51 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

Aren't these the guys from "The Matrix" sequels?

19/8/05 7:02 AM  

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