Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Triclinium pauperum: Poverty, charity and the papacy in the time of Gregory the Great
by Doleac, Miles, Ph.D., Tulane University, 2013, 293; 3569007
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the role of Gregory I (r. 590-604 CE) in developing permanent ecclesiastical institutions under the authority of the Bishop of Rome to feed and serve the poor and the socio-political world in which he did so. Gregory's work was part culmination of pre-existing practice, part innovation. I contend that Gregory transformed fading, ancient institutions and ideas—the Imperial annona, the monastic soup kitchen-hospice or xenodochium, Christianity's "collection for the saints," Christian caritas more generally and Greco-Roman euergetism—into something distinctly ecclesiastical, indeed "papal." Although Gregory has long been closely associated with charity, few have attempted to unpack in any systematic way what Gregorian charity might have looked like in practical application and what impact it had on the Roman Church and the Roman people. I believe that we can see the contours of Gregory's initiatives at work and, at least, the faint framework of an organized system of ecclesiastical charity that would emerge in clearer relief in the eighth and ninth centuries under Hadrian I (r. 772-795) and Leo III (r. 795-816). Gregory's efforts at caritative organization had significant implications. This dissertation argues that Gregory's response to poverty and want in Rome from 590 to 604 CE permanently altered the trajectories of both ecclesiastical charity and the office that came to oversee its administration.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kehoe, Dennis P., Luongo, F. Thomas
Commitee: Frazel, Thomas D., Kehoe, Dennis P., Luongo, Thomas F.
School: Tulane University
Department: History
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 74/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religious history, Ancient history, Medieval history
Keywords: Charity, Early Church, Gregory I, Pope, Papacy, Poverty, Xenodochia
Publication Number: 3569007
ISBN: 978-1-303-03384-1
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