A cluster of letters written in the name of the Merovingian dowager queen Brunhild, preserved in the late-sixth century letter collection Epistolae Austrasicae, concern her separation from her grandson, a hostage held at the court of the emperor Maurice in Constantinople. These letters have been read as genuine expressions of grief, offering insight into the personality of Brunhild herself or the emotional history of the early medieval period. Examination of the letters in the context of their composition - the larger set of diplomatic letters for which they were prepared, and patterns of communication between the royal courts of Gaul and Constantinople - suggests a more complex function for emotional imagery. The letters represent a script to be performed, deploying emotive scenarios as a tactic to bring indirect pressure on the emperor, and revealing a sophisticated understanding of the dynamics of communication and negotiation.
|Title of host publication||Studies in emotions and power in the late Roman world|
|Subtitle of host publication||papers in honour of Ron Newbold|
|Editors||Barbara Sidwell, Danijel Dzino|
|Place of Publication||Piscataway, NJ|
|Number of pages||39|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|
|Name||Gorgias précis portfolios|