Church Councils and Local Authority: The Development of Gallic Libri Canonum during Late Antiquity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The collection and compilation of the canons of church councils during late antiquity was but one manifestation of a general spirit of codification of knowledge, learning, and official acts that pervaded the period. The creation of Libri canonum, ‘books of canons’, in late antique Gaul exemplifies this phenomenon. Gallic collections of canons were intended not only to preserve and propagate the knowledge of the decrees of past church councils, but also in many cases to reinforce the local authority of the places where they were created. In this sense, the compilation of libri canonum manifests another of the trends that characterize late antiquity: a movement toward local as opposed to centralized authority.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBeing Christian in late antiquity
Subtitle of host publicationA festschrift for Gillian Clark
EditorsCarol Harrison, Caroline Humfress, Isabella Sandwell
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)0199656037, 9780199656035
StatePublished - 2014


  • codification
  • compilation
  • canons
  • councils
  • libri canonum
  • late antiquity
  • local authority

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