The Poor and Marginalized in Early Medieval Europe: Gregory the Great's Use of Defenders, Notaries, and Meritorious Almsgiving

No previous work has provided a comprehensive investigation of Gregory the Great’s concern for the poor and marginalized. This has left not only a gap in current scholarship but also several unanswered questions, such as where did Gregory the Great learn his administrative skills? How did he use his lesser orders, defenders and notaries to manage the finances and other affairs of the Roman see? And how did he promote charitable giving during his reign?


"This work will conduct a comprehensive investigation into how Gregory the Great cared for the poor and the marginalized. Methodologically, this study will constitute the first investigation of his use of lesser orders, defensores ecclesiarum (defenders) and notarii (notaries), whom he regularly employed to support the needy. Several works have been published on the charitable networks he founded or administered, such as Doleac’s contribution to the xenodochium or Spearing on the papal patrimonies; other scholars have written about his discourse regarding care for the poor, such as Wessel in her exposition on Gregory’s use of charity and the language of suffering to help the poor. This book will therefore fill a lacuna in explicating the roles and demographic characteristics of these lesser orders. It will also illustrate his use of meritorious almsgiving and gifts to maintain the services of his significant donors."
From the Introduction

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 - Gregory’s Life and Background with the Voluntary and Nonmonastic Poor

Chapter 2 - Defensores Ecclesiarum and the Protection of the Poor and Marginalized in Gregory the Great’s Papacy

Chapter 3 - Gregory the Great’s Use of Notaries to Protect the Poor and Marginalized

Chapter 4 - Gregory the Great’s Use of Gift Giving to Support the Poor and Marginalized

Book Conclusions

Appendix of Critical Editions, Translations, and Manuscripts


Index of Names

Index of Subjects