University College Dublin College of Arts and Celtic Studies: Master of Arts in Medieval History August (2010)
Gregory of Tours’ accounts of sixth century Gaul and the actions of the Merovingian kings may be more notable for violent and rash actions than delicate and astute diplomatic dealings. However, the great deal of scholarship that has been carried out on Gregory’s treatment of his period has made it possible to take a more careful look at this time, which saw the first foundations of the new states of Europe, and build a more layered picture of Gregory’s world than the black and white tales of barbaric kings and saintly believers which appear in the Ten Books of History.
Following the break up of the Roman Empire in the west the successor states which were formed in the Empire’s former territory had to establish new ways of dealing with each other and establishing their own positions and rule. In these circumstances the study of diplomacy, its practices and purposes, forms a part of the functioning of the new ‘barbarian’ kingdoms.