the nunnery is completely enclosed and separated from society: once a nun enters the house she can never leave again and she may only receive occasional visitors in the salutatorium, or monastic parlour, under surveillance. In church, the nuns are separated from the populace of Arles and heard, but not seen, as they sing their intercessory liturgy. But solutions to related questions were not always easily reached. Caesarius has difficulties in deciding what is to be done in the case of nuns who have been placed in the community as children and who can expect to inherit property on coming of age. His efforts to minimise social distinctions between the nuns by prescribing uniformity in clothing and limiting the height of headdresses are somewhat undermined by his inclusion of Augustine's teaching that the more delicately raised might be allowed better food and drink. In their attempts to capture the essence of community spirit, earlier monastic rules had undoubtedly understated many of the problems of communal life, but there can be little doubt that these were now thrown more sharply into relief by the way in which monasticism had become an accepted part of the social fabric. Caesarius effectively acknowledges the need for more structures to cope with these changes both by the way in which he constructs a hierarchy of command within the nunnery and also in his creation of the rule itself. Although he attempts to safeguard the essence of communal life by decreeing that the superior should normally dine with the community, she is now allowed to eat apart if she has business to transact; and there is a degree of distance between her and the nuns as she is assisted by a prioress, or second-in-command, together with a number of other officials with designated duties. However, the Rule's limitations in the face of social factors are revealed by the spectacular revolt ofthe nuns ofHoly Cross, Poitiers, in 58990. It had been imported to this prestigious nunnery by its founder, Queen Radegund, who died in 587, but proved inadequate to prevent a rebellion against the abbess Leubovera by over forty of her nuns. The revolt was led by two Merovingian princesses, who had been placed there against their will by the royal family and who, now that their charismatic kinswoman and her first appointee as abbess were dead, resented their subjection to a lower-class superior. In fairness to Caesarius, the social tensions that flourished at this royal foundation were probably extraordinary - and Abbess Leubovera did not help her own situation by breaching the spirit, if not quite the letter, of some of his regulations.18

A much more sophisticated and integrated attempt to deal with the potential problems confronting monastic communities is to be found in the Rule of

18 Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks 9.38-43 and 10.14-17, 20.

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