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Social Mobility in Late Antique Gaul


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In Social Mobility in Late Antique Gaul, Allen Jones explores the situation of the non-elite living in Gaul during the late fifth and sixth centuries. Drawing especially on evidence from Gregory of Tours' writings, he formulates a social model based on people of all ranks who were acting in ways that were socially advantageous to them, such as combining resources, serving at court, and participating in ostentatious religious pursuits, such as building churches. Viewing the society as a whole, and taking into account specific social groups, such as impoverished prisoners, paupers active at churches, physicians, and wonder-working enchanters, Jones creates an image of Barbarian Gaul as an honor-driven, brutal, and flexible society defined by social mobility. His work also addresses topics such as social engineering and competition, magic and religion, and the cult of saints.

• Analyses a significant but rarely addressed subject of potential interest to scholars of multiple disciplines, non-elites in late antiquity • Provides original insights on Gallic society and particularly on the milieu of Gregory of Tours • Addresses fascinating topics including social engineering and competition, magic and religion, and the cult of saints


1. Introduction: Barbarian Gaul; 2. Evidence and control; 3. Social structure I: hierarchy, mobility and aristocracies; 4. Social structure II: free and servile ranks; 5. The passive poor: prisoners; 6. The active poor: pauperes at church; 7. Healing and authority I: physicians; 8. Healing and authority II: enchanters; 9. Conclusion.

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