Playing the fame game: bibliography, celebrity, and primacy in late antique Spain

Wood, Jamie (2012) Playing the fame game: bibliography, celebrity, and primacy in late antique Spain. Journal of Early Christian Studies, 20 (4). pp. 613-640. ISSN 1067-6341

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This article positions the Spanish strand of the De viris illustribus in its social and literary context. I argue that, rather than simply continuing the biographical catalogues of Jerome and Gennadius, Isidore of Seville and Ildefonsus of Toledo used their lists of illustrious Spanish Christian leaders to assert the historical status of the Spanish church, particularly in relation to Rome and
Constantinople. I also suggest that lists of famous Christians functioned on a second level, as a medium for articulating competition between the great bishoprics of Spain. At the start of the seventh century, Isidore put together a selection of literary bishops from Spain to demonstrate the historical excellence of the Spanish church and to establish his brother, Leander, as its preeminent ecclesiastic. A few decades later, Ildefonsus constructed a list of miracle-working monk-bishops from Toledo as part of a broader campaign to assert Toledan primacy in Spain. Recording the deeds and writings of late antique, Spanish celebrity Christians was thus central to the establishment
and articulation of ecclesiastical power, creating connections to the past and establishing a reservoir of institutional and charismatic power on which future generations were keen to draw.

Keywords:Medieval History, Religion, Spain, Medieval Church, Ancient History, Early Medieval History, Late Antiquity, Bishops
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V224 Iberian History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V130 Medieval History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V600 Theology and Religious studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:7386
Deposited On:29 Jan 2013 16:53

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