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Enno Friedrich

The Christian World Web of Venantius Fortunatus – World Relations and the Carmina

Although the occasional poems of Venantius Fortunatus (Gaul, 6th century CE) are manifold in their content and form, they all create relations to a Christian world order that is proven as relevant to their readers. These connections of various (everyday-)subjects to and through a “Christian world web” is shown in eight exemplary texts. On this base, the Carmina can be understood as a Christian collection of the early Middle Ages in the tradition of, but also in clear opposition to the Roman text collections of Late Antiquity.

  • Venantius Fortunatus’ Carmina try to think Christianity as the (sole) principal of world order and make it feasible as a source of world relations for their readers.
  • The Carmina show clear differences to earlier Christian texts of Late Antiquity, since the Roman tradition the source for establishing identity is fully replaced by Christianity. The Christian Elites that is constructed in the Carmina do not need Rome anymore (and never did).
  • Venantius Fortunatus’ Carmina are ideologically in line with the works of Gregory of Tours and can be better understood in the context of a common program of the two medieval authors.
  • The "offers of world relations" in the texts function often via the transformation of weak and strong evaluations, as has been said about resonant world relations by Hartmut Rosa (referring to Charles Taylor).
  • Resonant world relations in the Carmina function, at least partly, in the same way Rosa proposes for world relations in modern times; a fundamental difference between premodern porous selfs and modern buffered selfs could not be found in the examination of offers of world relations in the Carmina.
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