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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 21, 2019

Chindasvinth, the ‘Gothic disease’, and the Monothelite crisis

Stefan Esders
From the journal Millennium

Abstract

Taking up important observations made by L. A. García Moreno on King Chindasvinth’s involvement in the Monothelite crisis via connections to North Africa and to Rome, this article argues that a deep division within the Visigothic episcopate on the king’s policy should already be assumed for October 646, when Chindasvinth assembled the 7th Synod of Toledo. A new reading of the synod’s first canon, usually interpreted as a mere confirmation of Chindasvinth’s law on high treason of 641/2, proceeds from the observation that the synod’s decisions must be seen as a minory vote, given the fact that the synod was not attended by more than 30 bishops and several episcopal representatives, and that it lacked any attendance or support from the ecclesiastical provinces of Tarraconensis and Septimania. As is shown, fears were expressed at the synod somewhat shroudedly that numerous clerics of every rank could find a common cause with a foreign enemy beyond the frontiers and that, as a consequence, an infringement of the orthodox faith could result. This most likely referred to the clergy of Septimania and Aquitania, whose territories the Visigothic kingdom and the Frankish kingdom neighboured. This paper argues that Frankish Aquitania, being the south-western part of the Austrasian kingdom of the Merovingian king Sigibert III, never adopted the policy of Sigibert’s brother Clovis II, who assembled a synod of the episcopate of Neustria and Burgundy at Chalon-sur-Saône in support of Pope Martin’s condemnation of Monothelitism at the Lateran synod of 649. While it is not clear whether Sigibert prevented the Aquitanian clergy from attending the synod for religious reasons or for diplomatic considerations related to Constantinople, the division of both the Frankish and Visigothic episcopates over the issue of supporting the Lateran Council fostered a constellation in which treason could become a crime with strong religious overtones.

Online erschienen: 2019-10-21
Erschienen im Druck: 2019-10-21

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