On becoming pope in late antiquity

Moorhead, John (2006) On becoming pope in late antiquity. Journal of Religious History, 30 3: 279-293. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9809.2006.00494.x

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Author Moorhead, John
Title On becoming pope in late antiquity
Journal name Journal of Religious History   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-4227
Publication date 2006-10-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9809.2006.00494.x
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 30
Issue 3
Start page 279
End page 293
Total pages 15
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Subject 2204 Religion and Religious Studies
Abstract To an extent unusual among holders of papal office in late antiquity, we know something of the family of Gregory the Great (590-604). His father, Gordianus, was a wealthy Roman who had married a lady named Silvia, who herself had a sister named Pateria, while he had another three aunts, Aemiliana, Gordiana, and Tarsilla, the sisters of his father.(1) He also seems to have had one, and possibly a second brother.(2) We know from his writings that his three aunts on his father's side adopted a religious life in common, but they attained very different levels, for Gregory reports that, whereas Gordiana disgraced herself by marrying a farmer on her estates, Tarsilla reached the highest level of holiness. He describes his great-great-grandfather Felix, a bishop of the Roman church, appearing to her in a vision in which he showed her a mansion of great brightness and told her to come, for he would receive her there; soon afterwards, she died of fever.(3) While such details may appear sparse, they provide a basis on which we can make some general statements on the kinds of people who became pope in the period from the late fifth to the early seventh centuries; a table of these popes is appended to this paper. We shall suggest that there was a set of criteria which were met by new popes time and time again, and that these remained surprisingly constant across the period.
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Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 19:00:42 EST