Patriatism in Gaul’s civitates

The cultivation of a provincial identity is most obvious in the literature composed in Gaul in the fourth century through the early sixth century…–and Sidonius (ca. 430-484)–an aristocrat from Lyon–expressed their deepest feelings not for Rome, or even for Gaul, but for their particular cities. Ausonius sings the praises of his beloved Bordeaux while Sidonius focuses on the Auvergne. Across Gaul, expressions of love for the patria focused not on Rome or even the chimeric “Gaul,” beloved of French nationalist historians, but, rather, on Marseille, Narbonne, Trier, Lyon, or other civitates.

– Patrick J. Geary, The Myth of Nations – The Medieval Origins of Europe, 104.

William of Malmesbury

The industry and forbearance of this man, any one will admire who reads the book which Bede composed concerning his life and those of the succeeding abbats: his industry, in bringing over a multitude of books, and being the first person who introduced in England constructors of stone edifices, as well as makers of glass windows ; in which pursuits he spent almost his whole life abroad : the love of his country and his taste for elegance beguiling his painful labours, in the earnest desire of conveying something to his countrymen out of the common way ; for very rarely before the time of Benedict were buildings of stone seen in Britain, nor did the solar ray cast light through the transparent glass.

– William of Malmesbury, Book II, chapter III

It has been made evident, I think, what disgrace and what destruction the neglect of learning and the immoral manners of degenerate men brought upon England! These remarks obtain this place in my history merely for the purpose of cautioning my readers.

– William of Malmesbury, Book II, chapter III

The searcher of my heart is witness that it was not for lust of gold that I came to France or continued there, but for the necessities of the church.

Alcuin, William of Malmesbury, Book II, chapter III