Name given to a corpus of 48 letters, written between the late 5th c. and late 6th c. by princes, bishops and Frankish notables and compiled from the royal chancellery at Metz. Given the quality of the writers, though some letters are banal and trivial one is even in verse, Ep. 23, usually they are historically very important. As for form, more than once we note the singular contrast between the custom of this literary genre, which imposed affected and mannered expressions, and the quality of the Latin, by now greatly deteriorated. CPL 1055-1067; MGH Ep. 3, 110-153 CCL 117, 403-470; I.N. Wood, Administration, Law and Culture in Merovingian Gaul, in R. McKitterick ed., The Uses of Literacy in Early Medieval Europe, Cambridge 1991, 63-81; Id., Letters and LetterCollections from Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages: The Prose Works of Avitus of Vienne, in M.A. Mayer ed., The Culture of Christendom. Essays in Medieval History in Commemoration of Denis L.T. Bethel, London 1993, 29-43; E. Malaspina, Il Liber epistolarum della cancelleria austrasica sec. V-VI, text, tr. and commentary, Rome 2001.
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