R. A. Markus's new and accessible work is the first full study of Gregory the Great since that of F. H. Dudden (1905) to deal with Gregory's life and work as well as with his thought and spirituality. With his command of Gregory's works and of the entire Latin tradition from which he cam, Markus portrays vividly the daily problems of one of the most attractive characters of the age. Gregory's culture is described in the context of the late Roman educational background and in the context of previous patristic tradition. Markus seeks to understand Gregory as a cultivated late Roman aristocrat converted tot he ascetic ideal, caught in the tension between his attraction to the monastic vocation and his episcopal ministry, at a time of catastrophic change in the Roman world. The book deals with every aspect of his pontificate: as bishop of Rome, as landlord of the Church lands, in his relations to the Empire, and to the Western Germanic kingdoms in Spain, Gaul, and, especially, his mission to the English. Thus this book promises to be a major contribution to the study of late antique society.