Dave Kelley and Marshall Kirk discuss a proposed Emesa-Treves monograph (in late spring 1999)
DHK : .... Emesa/Treves, along with other things. I did some things on blocking out some of where I thought we should go, and I actually wrote some material on ...
MKK: I'll want to see that when she gets it typed out.
DHK: Ya. Its easier if it's printed out on the computer. But it was basically, I started writing up Gregory of Tours and points that I thought and I blocked out and, I guess I've got it out there, I can do it more or less anyhow, the, I would see the first section as essentially being the Commageneans and Emesa prior to the Seleucids as one blocked-out segment.
MKK: I think it might be a good idea to subdivide it within for example, starting with the most recent part of it. The leg that covers the connection between the last Sohaemus that we have definitely connected with the royal pedigree, first, and then with Julius Bassianus about 125 or 150 that's conjecturally covered in between. I think one could make the statement that it's a virtual certainty, on grounds of common sense, etc. that Julius Bassianus was somehow descended from either Sohaemus or one of his brothers, and that if one wants an illustration of how it might have worked out, one could use the possible reconstruction from the tomb inscriptions I put together.
DHK: Yes, OK. I certainly, while I said that when I was thinking in terms of blocks what I was trying to see as blocks are groups that are firmly held together, and where I think there does not have to be much challenge and where you get it's the connections between block (a) and block (b) where I think we have to make our cases particularly strongly.
MKK: I agree.
DHK: And you know, I think even, I think we'll have a good argument. I want to take Late Treves, Treve and Spire and Autun, actually, as a unit. Because these go as a hereditary unit. And then I want to take earlier Treves and, to a certain extent, earlier Spire, but very little of earlier Spire.
MKK: When you say earlier, what range of years would you be covering with Treves?
DHK: Well, I think that we should come down, basically, to the children of Milo, which is 10th century.
MKK: That would be later, though.
DHK: Yes. The first segment is the late segment, which is later than the particular things we are interested in, but which very nicely illustrates the principles. Particularly, Milo held three bishoprics and seems to have been a thorough rascal and
MKK: But he was a Bishop by heredity.
DHK: That's right.
MKK: A Bishop no matter how much of a rascal, he's a bishop. A rose is a rose. Again, what would be the range of years that you would understand as the earlier period for Treves like 350 to??
DHK: No, basically, I would then see the block which follows as Clermont, and then I'd see the Clermont group as so we'd have in essence three Treves groups there, and I would argue that the second, the Clermont group, as a group, is clearly related to the other group as a group, and therefore, Modesta and Severa are of that lineage. And that's, in a sense, our most crucial single point.
MKK: Our entry point to all of this, of course, is Itta. And we have to make the point that there is no good reason to reject I don't think there is a good reason to reject the genealogical donnees and I use the term not to be pretentious but because it's a darn good one, and I can't think of a short equivalent in English of the genealogical donnees of the saints' lives, that give her, Severa and Modesta and Modoaldus as relatives. The situation described is natural on the face of it, that you expect all of these people to be religieux in one quality or another founding abbeys and the like and one of them is a bishop, and it's typical too, that you have a confusion of Gallo-Roman and of Germanic forms [of names], and in just about that point in history in families of that sort, that is exactly the sort of thing you are seeing, and many terrible [did I say that?] examples can be adduced. But that necessarily, if we accept those names as occurring as a group among the ancestors of Charlemagne, that is why we move backward, to look for other connections. And the Modestus/Modesta connection is particularly important because it's become quite an infrequent name by that period. A little surprisingly, considering that it's a virtue name. You would think it would be more widely used.
DHK: Severe and Modest. Severa and Modesta. Yes. Oh, well.
MKK: Severus also, as somebody said, had fallen into great desuetude by that time, in its various form.
DHK: Well I think that in the, sort of the introductory statement, we'll be talking both about the hereditary nature of bishoprics and, with particular reference to Gregory, I think we should include a chart of Gregory in there, and we can take some of these people who are his relatives directly into these families we are considering, but that's not what we are going to emphasize for Gregory it's the principles, as far as I'm concerned, that we're trying to get out of Gregory and the fact that he was related to all but 5 I think we need to make very explicit that being related to all but 5 did not mean that he had sort of general relationships of all his ancestors in all directions, but that we are dealing rather with a hereditary lineage. Lineage' being used very loosely. But nonetheless, it wasn't that he was related to the Bishop of Treves Mathias [misheard] through one relative and the Bishop of Treves Parkulus [misheard] through another, and so on and so on.
MKK: This may be true, but I feel I need to be the devil's advocate here and anticipate a potential objection. People will say, but we do know what his immediate ancestry is, and we know that he was conscious of stories concerning, and facts concerning, both people on his father's side and people on his mother's side, and they were episcopal families in both cases.'
DHK: Well, of course, that's another point. There is no such thing as an episcopal family there are only elite families who hold bishoprics.
MKK: But you see, there's a point worth making. You see
DHK: Yes, no, that's why I'm saying we have to make it. But I think it should be made, that we think it's a single lineage. I assume you do think it's a single lineage?
MKK: Well, I think it is the most likely default position, and, until I saw evidence to the contrary, I tend to make it myself. But I would be hard pressed to answer an argument of the sort that I just made it tends to [inaudible] cast that in doubt. Unless you have an awful lot of parallel examples in which you really can show that it's the same lineage for other ...
DHK: Well, of course, the problem there is, precisely, most of the references where we can show this are for one or two generations. And we can show it over and over again for one or two generations, but we can who [obviously misheard] he specifies these three are related. And then he doesn't say something. And then he specifies these are. But, in at least one case, we can show that that later group is related to the earlier one.
MKK: We have to do that in, general, with the bishops of Treves, probably with something along the lines of the list that I worked out, showing that various earlier and later pairs or groups seem to be related in various ways, or maybe related on the analogy of similar pairs of names in other bishoprics, that seem to be genealogically related also earlier, and later are clearly related. Volusianus shows up in some of the same that's very rare indeed.
DHK: Tetradius shows up with the bishop of Bourges??
MKK: It's a very complicated situation. And my suspicion is that there are vastly more genealogical connections linking these various bishoprics than anybody dreams I think that Mathisen, if he erred at all, has erred in not realizing just how far this phenomenon really went.
DHK: Oh, I think that's definitely true. And I think he is specifically confining himself to a rather narrow time frame. And I think that, in itself, limits it. In the Ferreoli, I have got 10 generations of bishops in several different bishoprics, and I can show how the different bishoprics interrelate and how this was a lineage here, and this one, and that one and so on.
MKK: About Emesa/Treves: we need to block the whole thing out it seems to me, in analyzing that, there are certain special sui generis points, that would sit like little blocks outside your [something missing] pointing at various things as sidebars or illustrations that you may not want to deal with, but, from my point of view, might be very useful to make. For example, I'm fascinated at the astoundingly high level of relevant names among the known pupils, and fathers of pupils, of Libanius, whose great aunt is in fact a Bassiana, and who (Libanius), we know, was a cousin to the younger Iamblichus and Himerius. And through whom other given the whole picture of names here could it be, but his great aunt Bassiana, who works perfectly, according to the genealogy that I've worked out, as belonging to the family of Sopater.
DHK: And works perfectly as a descendant of a Bassianus.
MKK: Precisely so. And since you also see a whole raft of these Libanian names turning up in the relevant places and relevant families in Gaul that, itself, cumulatively, makes a powerful argument for some sort of overall connection. Including some of the rarest names of all, such as Ecdicius. But also, we see Zenobius, we see a dozen others each one of which could be considered and here the statistical argument comes in again each one of which could be considered uncommon-to-rare in Gaul and, cumulatively, it's like a 100,000- to 1,000,000-to-1 shot that there is no genealogical connection altogether.
DHK: Yes, but we don't say that.
MKK: The intermediate assumption, of course, is that well, not of course' but one intermediate assumption should really be that Libanius's pupils, as a group, were likely to have had a great number of genealogical interconnections among one another. But that is what you would expect of the pupils of a well known educator in that period. Education of this sort was a luxury, for aristocratic families, and they would tend to be drawn to this man because some of them were directly related to him, and because many of the rest of them were directly related to one another.
DHK: Incidentally, one of the things I have is a list of the major reasons why people become saints. And, by far, what's the one that you think is the predominant reason for somebody becoming a saint? Over and above, statistically, and in all other ways.
MKK: Well, I know, the average person would say, because they were saintly,' but I take it that that's not the answer you're looking for.
MKK: My personal answer would be, because they were in the right place at the right time with the right goods, including money and land.'
DHK: Precisely. They are people who gave property to the church.
MKK: That is something I have repeatedly stressed, and I would love to see you say that in print.
DHK: Oh, I intend to.
MKK: It came as a revelation to me, because, you see, I was raised as a Catholic by a devout mother and I thought the church talked a lot about these saints, from the 400s, 500s and 600s although I didn't know it at the time and I had this vague picture of saintly gentlemen with long white hair and long white beards, dressed in cassocks and so forth, who sort of popped up like topsy, they just growed,' they had no particular background. What I began to recognize when I delved into these saints' lives, what quickly became very clear to me is, an awful lot of these people became saints because they were bishops, and they became bishops because they handed over a lot of land and consequently money to the church, and this was their reward.
DHK: Well, the
MKK: Often after secular and married and reproductive lifetimes.
DHK: The bishoprics I would regard as a separate category. Overlapping but separate. Separable category, let's say. There are a lot of people who gave money who weren't bishops and there are a lot of bishops who didn't give much money, because they were keeping it for their family. But they already had the power.
MKK: You know you could turn it around from the other end and ask this question of your readers, why do you suppose that long before the time of the French revolution, the Catholic church owned some whopping percentage of the total surface land area of France? I wouldn't care to say what it was, but any figure between 20 and 30 percent wouldn't surprise me.
DHK: In Mexico, it was, at the time of the First Revolution, it was between 70 and 80 percent.
DHK: Yes, you can see why they had to do it.
MKK: You know, you come right back here again to the same question of practical psychology. Why did these people, who were basically powerful aristocrats who were sort of like the Four Hundred of 50 years ago in the United States who, among themselves, owned practically the whole of what is now France in fiefdom, in effect the ancestors of later, the primordial forms of later baronies and lordships why did they turn over all this land to the church? And my answer would be, because it preserved their power base to do it, and because many of them had no other way to accomplish that end. The imperial structure was effectively dead. The church was not dead, and the church could exercise great power of not just of moral principle and moral authority, but really of superstitious awe over the less civilized minds of Frankish invaders, and Gregory plays that superstitious-awe aspect for all he is worth. He is constantly talking about some barbarian who offended the church and who was stricken by the wrath of the saintly Bishop Martin or what have you. This was a way of mutating and preserving their power base. In effect, they switched from secular office to other forms of office, or of some other way to secure the protection of the church, and their land and their culture still did not end up in the hands of the barbarians.
DHK: Yes, they in fact they gave it to the church and then they became hereditary abbots either hereditary abbots or whatever it happened to be.
MKK: You know, I don't think that Mathisen really makes this argument specifically, explicitly, and plainly, and I don't know if it has really ever been clear in his mind, whether he's cynical enough to see it that way. But it seems pretty transparent to me that that was the calculus involved, consciously or unconsciously, for a large number of people.
DHK: Yes; now I think that, frequently, it may have been at the unconscious level. I'm perfectly willing to grant that. But, of course, you also have the other you did have people who got there simply because they were really good people, and you got people who got there because they were martyrs, and you got people who got there because they were conquerors and brought their people with them. You can list these and you can look at the situations oh yes, St. Clovis
MKK [sardonically] : ... St. Goliath ...
DHK: Yes, exactly. These are
MKK: This is the astounding thing, by the way, when you see somebody like Gregory tell these horrible stories about what a selfish mass murderer this man was he comes right out and says he complained about being a lonely pilgrim without any relatives, not because he really wanted to have any relatives, but because he was hoping by these means to smoke out a few more so that he could kill them. And then, practically in the same breath, he would say, all of his affairs prospered because Clovis walked with God.' You wonder it doesn't seem that he was being cynical, that he was being tongue-in-cheek when he said this but, you know there was a curious deflection in his mind, or blind spot, that prevented him from seeing the blatantly obvious to anybody else, that this man was a bad man. By anyone's moral standards.
DHK: Well, perhaps not particularly by the standard of the day.
MKK: Perhaps not. But what that tells us further is that Gregory's actual standards for good and evil were, really had very little to do with Christian morality as we understand it, as the teachings of Christ if you will, or what would purport to be such. But his touchstone was, is it good or is it bad for the power structure of the church?
MKK: If it's good for the church, it's morally good. If it's bad for the church, it's morally bad.
DHK: And so and so becoming bishop of such and such is bad, because he shouldn't have inherited it, it should have gone to ...
MKK: You go through the Histories of the Franks, or whatever the thing is really called, and you could pick out classic examples of this sort of thing. It's a fascinating subject. Anyway. That's getting no further to where we're supposed to be going here. I wanted to say that one other ...
DHK: Well, I think it does.
MKK: Well, these are all things that go into the pot, and that's one reason why it's very advantageous to record these things, and why I wish we'd done this in years past, frankly. I was going to say, one other side bar that struck me is this I'm interested in the name Sulpicius, for obvious reasons. And it is fascinating to me that two major historians that we find from that period, one of whom is cited by Gregory and I have to wonder how many of his books came to him because, ultimately, he was somehow, he had somehow inherited them from the families of these people; there was no such thing as a public library at that point but, two of the major historians are Sulpicius Severus and Sulpicius Alexander. They seem both to have been in, or writing about, Gaul, both to have been contemporaries, within about the same ten-year period as far as I can tell.
DHK: Both the descendants of Alexander Severus?
MKK: From his family? I would not be surprised.
DHK: Yes, right.
MKK: And that in itself would explain why they were particularly likely to be known to be inherited by, as physical volumes, and known to Gregory of Tours. And you have to postulate some such mechanism, at least that's a small element in weighing the probabilities, simply because this is a society in which books were not mass-produced as they are today.
DHK: Do you know, there's a wonderful story which I ran across while looking at, I may have been in one of the Arthur books or somewhere, about Sidonius Apollinaris and Faustus of Riez and Faustus there was some person who came through and somehow he was visiting Sidonius, and then he left, and somehow Sidonius immediately found out what he hadn't known, that the chap had a book.
MKK : that he had a book. This is in one of Sidonius' letters he says, you concealed from me the fact that you had the book by so and so ... what did he, did he send out, he rode out on the horse himself or sent out people to pursue him and catch him and copy on the spot, a scribe was sent along ....
DHK: Yes, copy a whole bunch of it.
MKK: You learn so much from Sidonius' letters about the mindset, values, and circumstances of day-to-day life of these people. In the case of Sidonius, pretty much despite himself, because he'd like to paint an Arcadian picture, but the truth keeps breaking through at various points his letter to the Bishop Graecus concerning what he considered the betrayal of Arvernia by Graecus and the other bishops bartering away to the barbarians this whole province of the empire, is far and away as close as he was ever able to come to telling what he saying what he actually thought, stripping away the fol-de-rol. He was clearly in a livid rage when he wrote this. And it is sort of refreshing to see him, for once, being what he really was in his heart of hearts, an infuriated patriot.
MKK: And yet, at the same time, here's a man who was made bishop and, in effect, I believe, adlected into the church. I mean, it doesn't seem to me that was what he really wanted to be of course his father-in-law, for rather different reasons was adlected' into the church, as far as I can tell. But, his moral values were curiously skewed in their own right. Do you remember the very interesting letter by him to his cousin or nephew, or whatever the relationship was, concerning the undermining by ignorant peasants of the nephew's great-grandfather's grave, Sidonius' grandfather's unmarked grave. He'd been riding along on a horse, he saw from the distance in the graveyard that these artisans, these, these working men were actually digging up the mound that his grandfather was buried in. Well, my point of view is, these poor yokels didn't know that, it was just a mound there. There was no marker on it. It was completely unjust of him to assume otherwise. They'd no doubt been sent there on orders from some other bigwig to do their job. And he, with great self-righteous pride, said that he rode over in a fury, he dismounted from his horse, and he apparently gave them a beating with his whip on the spot and thought this was the right thing to do. The injustice is transparent, and yet this shows what his view was: he was an aristocrat
DHK: Yes, of course.
MKK : and they were dirt. And, how dare they not read his mind, and just, somehow, know that this was ground that they weren't supposed to touch?
DHK: Incidentally. You know, of all the possible myths in Wales, I've begun to wonder if St. David isn't the only real mytholot [obviously misheard myth of the lot'?].
MKK: I know nothing about St. David of Wales.
DHK: Well, they said his father's name was Saint and his mother's name was Nun, which has the sound of some unsaintly saint, perhaps
MKK: a rather questionable nun, too.
DHK: It somehow that doesn't sound a tremendously convincing sort of thing, but there are no Davids after him. The next occurrence of the name David is in the 12 th century, and it's in a family that has a whole set of names that seem to derive from the family of Margaret of Scotland.
MKK: In which the name David would be found already. Do you think he might have been a later creation to bolster their ...
DHK: I almost wonder if he wasn't.
MKK : national historic Christian pride. I understand that St. Germanus of Auxerre, that one theory is that there may have been a contemporary saint in Wales, or what became Wales, who had nothing, really, to do with this man, but has been historically conflated with him. I'm sure that many activities of Germanus of Auxerre that have been carried over into Welsh mythology really had to do with an unrelated individual.
DHK: I don't think so. Germanus of Auxerre, there are contemporary documents that make it absolutely clear that he was participating in various things in Britain.
MKK: Well we have the, his life, written, by the contemporary who had known him, some years after his death, and I think we could probably rely on that. It's a precious document for events inside Britain because, God knows, we could count them on the fingers of, perhaps, one hand. Well, anyway, to get back to [several inaudible words] in your first block, you think it's internally defensible, an overall defensible block would be from Commagene down to the point at which the Emesan royal family or [inaudible] royal family intersects with several dynasties. I think that most scholars who know anything about the subject would tend to agree with that. Even if they'd say, well we can't really know what the exact nature of the descent was between the third quarter of the first century and the last, ah, the fourth quarter of the second century, that some descent existed is a virtual certainty. And many scholars writing in the 1990's on the subject seem to accept, also, that Lucius Julius Aurelius Sulpicius Severus Uranius Antoninus dit Sampsigeramus was also, somehow, a descendant of that family, so I don't think you'd run into too much trouble here. I would assume, therefore, that you would regard the second block as being essentially the Severan dynasty itself [inaudible] Emesan branch.
DHK: And the third group I would see as the whole group, really, from the time of Sopater, Himerius, and on down until the time of Tetradius, say.
MKK: Question: how would you conceptualize the function, in this article or whatever you want to call it, of the range from Severus Alexander down through the many-named Uranius Antoninus, the usurper of the east. Would you consider that this individual definitely connected?
DHK: I would, I think he should certainly be treated in connection with the Severan dynasty.
DHK: Yes, definitely. But what I would say is that probably most of the adventurers were not fly-by-nights
MKK: I think that's probably legitimate, otherwise they probably would never have gotten to where they were. Along those lines, I think an important point to make is, it is a topos of historical writers who are almost always, by the very nature of their financial situation, the economy that they lived in, somehow dependent upon the powers that be, perhaps sometimes for their very lives it was a topos that they should write that any particular attempted, would-be usurper who failed was of mean birth.' And it seems to me that it is, again on commonsensical grounds, simply unlikely that most people of mean birth could gain control of, administrative control of, thousands of soldiers or tens of thousands if not hundreds of, tens of thousands, certainly and mount an attempted revolution. I just don't buy it. I don't believe it, it doesn't square with what I know of people.
DHK: Well, it doesn't square with the structure of appointments of officers on the Roman marches.
MKK: And I think that that's a point that's worth making.
DHK: I think that the question of yes, people may be of a different rank than you know, somebody who belonged to the equestrian rank might well push into the senatorial rank and so on but I don't think that they are apt to push from of course, it's probably true that somebody in the senatorial rank might consider the equestrian rank as mean birth' that's another thing, what did they mean by the term, mean birth'? They may even mean some member of a royal family who had had to flee and could not afford to support his son in the fashion in which he should have been brought up.
MKK: OK, we could deal with this in a variety of ways, as long as it's dealt with. Another question that arises, and this is before we go on to the Amicus [ehh??] Sopater
DHK : ....
[June 1 Side B (continued)]
MKK: and here we could pull in the article, as a reference, that appeared, with a lot of coin illustrations and so forth, in JAMS, I believe it was on Julia Maesa, and the politics of the Emesan branch of the Severans, what was really going on there, the fact that it was essentially a dynasty of women on the Emesan side of the Severan family, who were determined to perpetuate their power by raising up mama's-boy figureheads that would be acceptable to the people. I think that this is important because we need to deal in some way, shape, or form with the dynamic that informed the logic of what were essentially internal struggles among various branches of this Emesan family, which had become imperial because of its alliance with the Severan dynasty (DHK: Yep), and the reason we have to is, because it leads directly to my analysis of who the first Uranius Antoninus if he existed as a discrete individual, and if not him, some other individual filled the same genealogical spot who he was, and why I believe that the most likely identification is that he was the younger brother of Varius Avitus Bassianus, a.k.a. Elagabalus ; because, in the first place, I mentioned that we know that at the time of his parents' death there was more than one child living, we have hard evidence of that, and it's instructive in itself that we know that, but there's not a single mention of any sibling anywhere in the available sources.
DHK: Yes, that's a point that is well worth making.
MKK: Yes, because it informed so many others (DHK: but right), because it means we do not expect to see complete accounts of all the children in a family (DHK: we do not), typically they deal, the argument from silence about other siblings is worthless in that context, the expected situation is that there will be other siblings of whom the sources tell us nothing. It is very much the exception when the source goes out of its way to tell you, they had the following children and these were all of them.' (DHK: Yep).
DHK: It is usually one with some specific reason, such as Marcellina, Ambrosius' sister
MKK: OK. Well, this becomes important because this gives us a good, reasonable placeholder for the father of the polyonymous usurper of 253, umm (DHK: Yup).
DHK: I think that and incidentally, you have essentially convinced me of the high probability that that is the best solution
MKK: Well, I want to accomplish something here.
DHK: Yes, uh
MKK: I think it's the best solution, because what really happened here is that Soaemias gets murdered along with her son, because the son, well, he's weird one way or the other, and he's certainly reckless, one way or the other, and people don't like him. Maesa, who is the moving force behind all of this, realizes that her whole plan is going to go down the toilet if she doesn't do something, but frankly, I wouldn't put it past her to have engineered the circumstances in which her daughter and her grandson were assassinated. From her point of view, it's the next best thing, it passes over to, ugh, what was the other cousin?
DHK: I can't get it in my head right now.
MKK: We have Julia Soaemias Bassiana, and the other cousin, I can't recall her name. Her other daughter.
DHK: Julia Domna [DCS: Mamaea].
MKK: Julia Domna. Domna's daughter [sic] Severus Alexander seems really to have been a mama's boy, and had much less athletic [misheard] juice.
DHK: That book I got on Perpetua, who was in this time period, has a marvelous wooden painting, which I haven't seen before, of Julia Domna, husband and two children. Very nice, however ....
MKK: I would like to see it at some point, and you never know what it would suggest. But in any event, this is Maesa's doing. In effect, things are just the same as they were before, except that she ruthlessly got rid of a daughter and a grandson. She still has a daughter and a grandson, who, in effect, are the power in Rome and in the Roman Empire as a whole. Severus Alexander, we know, eventually faces rebellion from a man who might have been called Uranius Antoninus. What, given the whole picture, is more likely than if this was a younger brother too young, at first, to have succeeded in any event and would have, it, given the chronology, would have to be the case, these were all very young who is now grown to manhood and is trying to reassert what he considers his legitimate claim against what he considers to have been the usurper of his right, as the brother of Elagabalus, to be emperor. And it is, ummh, I'm thinking of subsidiary, but it's not the word. Not subsidiary, not subordinate, not secondary, not sequential. It is the events that follow. [I meant subsequent'!]
DHK: Ugh, oh, OK.
MKK: It is the events of the next several decades that follow, the people involved, that cast retrospective light on the probable unity of the person referred to as Uranius in one place and Antoninus in another, and in his probable genealogical role here. And what keeps popping up several times over well, puts the whole picture in a clearer light, and as defensible as many theories of that period that have been proposed more defensible than some
DHK: More defensible than most.
MKK: We know Iamblichus and I've given you a copy of the article on Iamblichus that tries to diddle around with Iamblichus of Chalcis here, that tries to diddle around with his birth year ... and to some extent there is some truth here. Although there is a contradiction between the year of birth described in the title and the year of birth described in the text of the article itself it's a five-year difference. Clearly, the author is hesitating. But it's full of many interesting tidbits, biographical tidbits, concerning him. Again, not written by somebody long after the fact, but by, I believe, someone who had known him personally and had a good deal to say about him we know [, I repeat,] that he was of a wealthy and powerful family of Chalcis in Syria. Given that, and given his name, it is a virtual certainty that he was descendant, again, from the Emesan family. Ummmh
DHK: I think there is no doubt of that by anyone who is familiar with naming patterns, and, of course, one of the problems is that we are hoping to have an audience who will be not just the people who are specialists in the period and, uh, unfortunately, you've got a lot of people who think that names just sort of spread: oh, there was an Arthur, so a lot of people got named Arthur. Oh, there was an Ambrosia, so a lot of people got named Amber.
MKK: Perhaps this is something that should be dealt with in the list of first principles at the outset (DHK: Yep). This is an argument that I've made before, verbally, and is worth making in print. We are making the assertion that although it was just a custom for people to name children only from the stock of names that are considered proper to their gens or the equivalent
DHK: Gens would probably be the word.
[June 1, Side C]
MKK: the point we are making is this, that custom exercised 98% of total control over people's practices, onomastically, in that period. People might be inclined to doubt that, because our behavior with regard to given names is so very different, utterly different, today (DHK: Yes). The counter-argument that I would make is this: consider this, living in the United States today, you, as a matter of course, if you were married and had a child, and give that child the father's surname, it is considered rare and freakish for somebody to do other than that. And yet, there is no law that says you have to do that.
DHK : ... in some states ...
MKK: There may be now; at the time that I am thinking about, twenty years ago, I read an explicit statement to the effect that there was actually no law in any state that said you had to. No federal law, no state laws. Maybe there are now. Anyway, the point was, the point that I am making is, that it is essentially an entirely, a matter of unthinking following of custom by virtually everyone in the entire population, and anybody that doesn't follow is regarded as a little peculiar.
DHK : ... or as very peculiar ...
MKK: Well, that they can even be looked down on, and say, well, you're just going to confuse the kid, why should he have a name that's different from his father when every other child has the same name as his father? Why are you doing this thing?
DHK: They'll think he's a bastard.
MKK: Yeah, that's true. Because that's one of the few situations where the child is given the mother's, when there hasn't actually been a legitimate marriage between the two. If custom can exercise this much control today, is it wrong to think that with regard to naming practices, it exercised nearly universal sway, in a different way, in the Roman period? I say no, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that.
DHK: Of course it is. We need to make the point that we are not making an assumption which is contrary to the assumptions of the main scholars in the field.
MKK: No, we are not.
DHK: We are, all the scholars who've worked on this material, share our view on this. But it is a view that needs to be made explicit precisely because a lot of people who would be interested are not scholars in the field.
MKK: And it might be pointed out, in aid of that, that the major [reason] why scholars share this view is simply that, in the vast preponderance of cases, in which we know a lot of names from a kingroup or a family which we've carried forward several generations, we can see very clearly how the names were transmitted. We know for a fact, from contemporary documents or inscriptions, et cetera, et cetera, how the naming process worked.
DHK: Yes. We know that one of uh, a bishop, oh dear, in the Nibelung family, but he was named for his great, great, great, great grandfather ...
MKK : ... who was a Ratbod, king of Frisia, wasn't he?
DHK: Right, right.
MKK : ... that's a good thing to throw in too. That's an explicit attestation, I think it's crucial to throw that in, because it's explicitly attested as a recognized practice that one might draw a name from as far back as seven generations.
DHK: Yes. It's very true of mixed lines. Incidentally, that has some relevance for a later phase of the connections or trends in the Baldwin-Eustace connection. The two names go together repeatedly, and they are, of course, together in the counts of Flanders and Valone and later, but they are together in various intermediate places, uh, including, uh, Luxeuil, where the patron was a, uh was working with a family of the Locartes [ehh?] of Treves, and I think that the Baldwin and Eustace who appear as brothers, uh, at this time are grandsons of Gundwin, and I think that Gundwin is a relative of Gundulf, and the names Baldwin and Eustace are, I think, both in the family of Gundulf, the relative of Gregory.
MKK: I would like to see you work that out in detail so that I can think about it for a while. That is something that is quite complicated and I will have to think over. But you raise another point. You said that you want to start out with a general, that you want to get the general points out of the way. The first major case study, you want it to be that of the family of Gregory of Tours. I found very interesting and I think it's well worth emphasizing, for various reasons very interesting your identification of the probable origin of the name of Gundulf, kind of a similar name coming from the Burgundian royal family [makes no sense; probably misheard] (DHK: yes), because it illustrates, generally, the principle that you see more broadly, which is that the kind of intermarriage that you would expect between high level Gallo-Roman families and Franks is between them and royal Franks, and [inaudible], in fact, the argument that I'd made is, it is striking to see Gundulf as the only name we see certainly attested in the kin group of Gregory of Tours, explicitly attested, which is non-Gallo-Roman; it sticks out like a pig in a cathedral.
MKK: And my argument was, virtually nothing less than descent from the Burgundian royal family would account for a family of that sort having seen it fit and proper to give such a blatantly Germanic name to a child.
DHK: Well, I think in general, one can say that, that, uh, they did give, uh, families of Roman origin did, after an intermarriage, did give, uh, Germanic names to some of the children, but it does not seem to me to have been normally the case in the other direction. That argument was made, and I have made it, and it has been contradicted by Settipani on the basis of cases where I think he simply wasn't extending the pedigree entirely. Exjensen, he's a well, I think means, Gallo-Roman, and I think that the, if you get someone with a Germanic name with that's sort of thing, he had an ancestor farther back [this whole sentence has been misheard, and I can't reconstrue it].
MKK: Yes, I would think that is parallel to what I'm arguing. It is particularly striking in the case of Gundulf, because, even though you see the mixture later, Gundulf was born early.
MKK: He's of an early vintage, and Gregory's family stands out as, I think, particularly and perhaps somewhat unusually, proud of its Gallo-Roman heritage, its senatorial heritage. Gregory himself is certainly very proud of his senatorial ancestors.
DHK : ... yes ...
MKK: Trying naively to appear modest at the same time, by not directly connecting himself with these people, though the pride glows through.
DHK: Incidentally, this is the type of table that I have done sometimes when I'm trying to see things.
MKK: Yeah, I have a copy of this and you've shown me.
DHK: Now, what do you think about something like that, in the...
MKK: I think it's worthwhile putting some tables in, as a general rule, and the reason I would do it is, because you get more people if you vary your form of, you persuade more people, if you vary your form of presentation.
MKK: People who are not persuaded by straight text are sometimes persuaded by graphic representation like this, and vice versa.
DHK: Yes, well, I find it helps me to figure what is happening ...
MKK: I think it's important to put this kind of thing in.
DHK: Uh, but you see, uh, it's the generation after Gundulf when we get Baldwin and Gunthar as two successive bishops and not ...
MKK : ... and I tend to agree, I tend to agree with your thinking on that. It never jumped out at me before, but now I think it's much more likely that you are right. It does fit into the overall picture quite nicely. I wanted to say, getting back to the main line of the Emesan-Treves work, after we deal with, we deal with Iamblichus of Chalcis and, I think almost certainly, his son-in-law, Sopater and we really have to make that argument, we basically have to address Cameron's article...
MKK: Alan Cameron, because that's what going to be thrown at us, and I don't think Alan Cameron's article supports the point he is trying to make, I don't buy it. I think that various a priori considerations and onomastic considerations simply outweigh what, in my opinion, are weak arguments. Um, but in any event, that has to be dealt with, that we deal, therefore, with a family of Hevinints [what in God's name ?] that were the family of Iamblichus and Sopater as a block, and it is partly from that that Libanius gets drawn in, because of his great aunt Bassiana. But in any event, we get into what is, I think, one of the most difficult parts of the whole thing, and that is the connection between the family of Sopater on the one hand, and the bishops of Treves on the other. Now, the linchpin of that is the appearance, as nearly as I could put it in the vicinity of 440 to 465 or so, of bishop Iamblichus, bishop Himerius, bishop Cyrillus, and possibly Bishop Severinus I'm much less certain about that, but he isn't nearly as important anyway. That is a very, very striking group, and I would be unwilling to accept almost any other postulated explanation unless it was resoundingly supported by contemporary documentation, but there is some derivation for that group of bishops from the family of Sopater, purely on statistical grounds, knowing something as I do of the frequency of these names and I've made it my business to find out from the best data that I can how frequently such names do occur. Anyway, we can assume, generically, a connection on that basis people can object, but the question of how it works itself out is quite another matter. And that relates in my mind to the emergence, and I think he's important, of Agroecius, Bishop of Treves. And the reason I think he's important, he's the earliest person named that, as far as I can tell, in Gaul, and it is fascinating that, it's late but we have no reason to disbelieve, as far as I can tell, a late life, um, he is explicitly stated to be of Syrian origin and came there as bishop under imperial patronage. Those two things taken together, make him a very possible, very plausible conduit somehow, either a conduit for the flow between Sopater's family and Treves, or somehow associated with that flow ... if nothing else, he shows that Gaul had, imported into it, prominent Syrians, and indeed it seems that there was a major trade route between Syria and Gaul, and particularly Treves itself, because Gregory himself makes reference to it. He talks at one point about the Syrian merchants shouting in their own tongue, and I've seen other references to a Syrian connection in Gaul, it seemed to have something to do with lines of merchant transportation.
DHK: Yes, and, uh, I'd seen something quite specific on that.
MKK: It's a point worth making, and any evidence you can dredge up is worthwhile, and it's the same for me, I think, because otherwise, one of the things that people who don't know too much might have difficulty with is, it may to them be a far-fetched idea that the parent of someone who is living in what is now France could have been living, could have been born himself in what is now Syria. If they know a little, but not too much about the Roman Empire, they could say, that's completely ridiculous. It's like saying you have a Smith in Maine and you don't know where to find his parents, you decide to pick on some Smith who was down in Virginia ; but it's not like that at all.
DHK: It's much more like a Smith in New Mexico and you pick on his parents in Maine.
MKK: Yeah, something like that, but the point is, the name isn't Smith,' and let us say between Maine and New Mexico, we happen to know that, for people of this sort, there were multiple major reasons why they may have moved from one to the other. It's a name more like Saltonstall,' shall we say. So that, I think the point does need to be made that it is in accord with what we know about routes of movement for both trade and wealthy people in the Roman Empire in the 300s, that there was considerable [inaudible] of...
DHK : ... and of third kind of, it was particularly common for certain types of pilgrimages.
MKK: I don't really follow. How does that work?
DHK: Well, you have Saint Melania who went from Rome to Syria and on to Jerusalem, and she was by no means alone, but people were able to go from place to place and have connections all along the route, and they wrote, they wrote letters to, uh, friends of friends, they said I'm coming, can I stay with you?,' in essence.
MKK: We see a lot of that sort of thing in Gregory.
MKK: Perhaps it is worthwhile, in general pointing out and even a single sentence will do that we are not really talking about Mechanic Falls, Maine or Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, umh, we are talking about Treves, Treves. Augustas Treverorum, up until 400 or so, was the administrative capital of the Prefecture of the Gauls, therefore one quarter of the entire Roman Empire. That was one of the most important cities in the entire empire. Naturally, the connections of its people would be empire-wide. You would expect the aristocracy of any one of the major cities to have linkages to the aristocracy of the others. Melania herself is a good example, because we know of her, I think we also know of Paula, that they had estates, their estates were scattered throughout the entire empire, vast tracts of land all the way from Britannia to Syria.
MKK: And North Africa as well.
DHK: Now that, yes, that is something, that we should get done very early and I haven't, uh, it isn't something that fits well into Gregory.
MKK: See, we probably should go into the prefatory matter in general, because we've discussed, essentially, having a section of general principles concerning the essential facts of the overall historical, demographic, cultural, geographical situation. The kinds of sources and evidence that we are using and the means by which we are analyzing them, and why there are legitimate onomastic principles, statistical principles associated therewith; I think that this would tend to fit in there.
DHK: Yeah, OK ...
MKK : ... because of the eurythmous [ehh?] contemporary and explicit testimony, and it does bear upon the kinds of people we are talking about. We are talking, essentially, about people who are descendants at some remove from an imperial house, and who undoubtedly had considerable wealth and power, but who, for various reasons, might have fallen out of favor with the current central imperial government. That leads to the question of being transported, in general, the way people were transported to Australia. These were not common criminals; they were highborn political liabilities, with their children.
DHK: All kinds of people moved with the troops. The troops moved and sometimes they took a wife where they were moving, but sometimes they took their wives with them or brought their wives to them ...
MKK: That was particularly true of people who were highly placed ...
DHK: Yeah, but it was true of an awful lot of other people. If you look at the stuff they found on Hadrian's Wall, they've got the, you know, they've got clear indications that this was true of family, low-class soldiers.
MKK: There's been quite a large find in late years, has there not, of drafts of letters ...
DHK : ... Yes ...
MKK: on sections of boards, or something of this sort, that soldiers, quite common soldiers, had written, flung into a trash pile and had never been cleared up ...
DHK : ... thrown into the ...
MKK : ... what was the place called, something like Vindabona, perhaps...
DHK : ... Yep ...
MKK: Was it actually Vindabona?
DHK: I think so, yes. [recte, Vindolanda.']
MKK: I don't know very much about what has actually been found there, I hear quite a lot of materials ...
DHK: ... yes, massive, uh, I was looking again at a couple of good books that I bought on the, uh, Romans in Britain and one of them has, one of the things it's got is a letter from one of the wives of a local, uh, you know, uh, the equivalent of a major in command of a, uh, as it would be, and, uh, she's writing to the wife of another, you come to my birthday party, we're going to have a great time.'
MKK: How everyday, like that.
MKK: That very thing fascinates me. They were very much ordinary people. The point is, they are not, um, two-dimensional figures, carved or painted or carved in low relief on the wall somewhere (low relief' is a contradiction in terms). They were real people; they behaved according to the same rules that governed real people in any age, at any time, anywhere, basic rules that just have to do with human nature.
DHK: Yeah, there are some of those, and then there are those that behave according to cultural rules.
MKK: It's important that one differentiate the two ...
DHK : ... in so far as possible ...
MKK: but to take the invariance into account. Too much historiography seems to me to have the implicit assumption that people are just arbitrary, notional, abstract counters that need not necessarily have any reason for the things they do ...
DHK : ... you would like the introduction to the, uh, revised Toumanoff volume where, uh, who is that did it? But in any case, he was saying precisely this, that people are, uh, its fine to talk about, uh, society unmasked, providing one doesn't anthropomorphize the particular society or group one's talking about, but the, in fact, they have repeatedly done this, they talk about Communism does' or Socialism says,' and, uh, of course, as he points out, this is absolute, well, it's silly, people say, and they may be two people sitting side by side in church, uh, and professing to believe, they believe the same, and if you ask the other, do you believe the same?,' they'd say yes,' and then if you ask them what do you believe?,' you find they believe almost nothing in common.
MKK: You're coming pretty close to an essential point of a book that had a great impact on me as a college student, I wish I'd read it ten years earlier, by one of FDR's economic advisors who lived to a very advanced age, and was like 95 or 97 when he died Stuart Chase, The Tyranny of Words, a popularization of Korzybski's rather eccentric, but, I think, very shrewd and important work ...
MKK: And it crystallized a lot of things that I'd seen, inarticulately, for years about the nature of arguments, and why people were arguing at cross purposes with each other, and couldn't possibly agree because they were talking about two different things, but the words they were meaning ... and ever since I read that I've been very, very doubtful about the use of high-level abstractions ...
DHK : ... point down, don't point up, point towards the specific, not towards the ...
MKK: ... yes, I've been hammering home to everyone I know since I've read that, that if you can't say exactly what you mean by an abstraction, in terms of concrete, physical objects, events, substances, or discernible relationships, then, arguably, it's not worth trying to argue about it in the first place. It's a description of the answers he got back from about 50 to 100 people as to what they meant by Fascism, it was a perfect example of what you were just talking about. They had virtually nothing in common with each other. It was astounding what people thought Fascism meant. It meant everything, and therefore it meant nothing. It really might seem as just a curse word, meaning I don't like that.' An awful lot of controversy, the high public level, is based on bad semantics. What are people talking about? What do they really mean? They don't know. They couldn't tell you. Or if they did, it wouldn't mean what the other side meant by it. It's all wasted breath.
DHK: We shall try to waste as little breath on this sort of thing as possible.
MKK: That's what I try to avoid. I realized early on in college that I was arguing interminably at Harvard with people over things, and it puzzled me why so many of the arguments were going as they did, and I gradually realized that something was very wrong here that there was some reason why the arguments were of a nature that could not possibly be won by either side. It was either because of a difference in definitions or a difference in what you might call inarguable axiological first principles. We started from principles that were essentially arbitrary and undemonstrable, in and of themselves you either accept them or you don't accept them, and since we accepted different axiologies and incompatible axiologies, there was no possible way we could be consistent with ourselves and agree with each other. And I was a lot happier once I was able to identify unwinnable arguments almost as soon as they began. I wasted a lot less time. Speaking of which, I'm sure you have better things to do than talk to me endlessly. But I do think this was a very productive discussion, many points turned up, and I can only say that I hope to God they [inaudible] ended [inaudible] that long tape. I would like to actually sit down with you with a set of charts tomorrow on the same subject, and if you wish to and go over any major points that I've failed to make and, if I want, to ask questions. Let's say this is enough for today ...