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Caesarius of Arles and the campaign against popular culture in late antiquity

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    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Grig, L. (2018) Caesarius of Arles and the campaign against popular culture in late antiquity. Early Medieval Europe, 26: 61–81. doi: 10.1111/emed.12248, which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/emed.12248/full. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-81
JournalEarly Medieval Europe
Issue number1
Early online date8 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


This article analyses the preaching of Caesarius of Arles (in particular the Admonitiones) as a sustained attack on contemporary popular culture. It situates this process in the context of the question of the “democratisation of culture” in Late Antiquity, an enduring historiographical debate in which Caesarius plays a starring role. The analysis focuses in detail on the bishop’s programmatic letter, the so-called Sermo 1, and unpicks the strategies used to stigmatise key aspects of popular culture as well as considering the reception of his campaign.

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