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E00583: Gregory of Tours, in his Glory of the Martyrs (57), recounts the death of *Eugenius (bishop of Carthage, exiled to Albi in Gaul, ob. 505, S00334), his burial in the crypt of *Amarandus (martyr of Albi, S00333) near Albi (south-west Gaul), and the punishment of a false oath at the fair during the feast of the saint. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 580/594.

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posted on 2015-06-01, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Gregory of Tours, Glory of the Martyrs 57

After describing the discovery of the body of Amarandus, near Albi (E00582), Gregory continues:

Huic criptae sociatur et ille Honorificianae persecutionis martyr Eugenius, sacerdotalis infulae maximum decus, quem in hac urbe detrusum exilio, vel ipsius vel sociorum eius passio narrat. Hic cum magnis in saeculo polleret virtutibus et iam victor de tormentis martyrialibus exsilisset, tempus vocationis suae, quo arcessiretur ad gloriam, Domino revelante cognovit. Illud praecipuae, quod populis occulebatur, manifestum noscens, se martyri Amarando socium esse futurum, ad eius sepulchrum diregitur, prostratusque solo, diutissime orationem fudit ad Dominum. Dehinc expansis per pavimentum brachiis, spiritum caelo direxit, qui a christianis collectus, in ipsa qua diximus cripta sepulturae mandatus est.

Ad cuius festivitatem cum tempore quodam innumeri populi convenirent, negotia multa in atrio protulerunt. Puella vero una ex habitatoribus loci stationem adit, quasi aliquid coemptura, speciemque sibi aptam aspiciens, a negotiatore suscepit. Et statim dicto citius porrectam alteri, negat se accepisse. Negotiator vero intente agebat: "Mea tibi eam manu protuli, tuque rimandam sollicite suscepisti". Illaque negante, ait negotiator: "Si tibi tanta est pertinacia, avaritia stimulante, negandi, iudicet illud beatus martyr Eugenius; ad cuius sepulchrum, si cum sacramenti interpositione dixeris, te non accepisse, damni mihi nihil aestimo, quod amisi".
At illa pollicita, se posse ex hoc exsui sacramento, vadit otius ad sepulchrum; elevatisque manibus, ut iuraret, extemplo membris dissolutis inriguit, plantaeque eius adfixae sunt pavimento, vox haesit in gutturae, tantum os patulum a sermone nudum hiabat. Quod negotiator cum reliquo populo cernens, ait: "Prosit tibi", inquid, "virgo, haec species, quam tulisti mihi; sufficit ultio data per martyrem". Et haec dicens, a loco recessit. Illa vero in hoc tormento diutissime detenta, tandem, martyre iubente, locuta, palam confessa est, quod clam latere voluerat ...

'Eugenius, a martyr during the persecution of Huniric, was buried in this crypt. The account of the suffering of Eugenius and his companions relates that this great ornament of the episcopal honour was sent into exile at Albi.
Although he was noted in this world for his great miracles and had already triumphed as a victor over the torments of martyrdom, through the Lord's revelation he learned the moment of his calling when he would be summoned to glory. In particular, that which was unknown to the people had been revealed to him. Knowing that he would be a companion of the martyr Amarandus, he went to his tomb, knelt on the ground, and for a long time prayed to the Lord. Then, with his arms spread out over the pavement, he sent his spirit to heaven. The Christians picked him up and ordered his body to be buried in the crypt I have already mentioned.

At a certain time when many people have gathered for his festival, they carry out much business in the forecourt [of his church] (Ad cuius festivitatem cum tempore quodam innumeri populi convenirent, negotia multa in atrio protulerunt). A girl, one of the inhabitants of the region, went to a stall as if intending to buy something. When she saw an ornament she liked, she took it from the merchant. Immediately, more swiftly than words [can say], she gave the ornament to someone else and then claimed that she had not received it. But the merchant insisted: "I offered it to you with my hand, and you took it for a closer inspection." When the girl denied [the accusation], the merchant said: "If, under the influence of greed, you so persist in denying, the blessed martyr Eugenius will judge. If you take an oath before his tomb and say that you did not receive the ornament, then I will think that what I misplaced was not a loss." Promising that she could be cleared by this oath, she quickly went to the tomb. When she raised her hands to swear her oath, immediately she lost control of her limbs and became stiff. Her feet were glued to the pavement, her voice stuck in her throat, and her mouth hung open without any words. The merchant and the other people saw this, and he said: "Young girl, let the ornament that you took from me be of use to you. The punishment given by the martyr is sufficient." After saying this, he left the place. For a long time the girl was held in this pain. Finally, at the martyr's command, she spoke and openly confessed what she had wished to conceal in secret ...'

Text: Krusch 1969, 77-78. Translation: Van Dam 2004, 55-57, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Eugenius, exiled bishop from Africa, died and buried near Albi (Gaul), ob. 477/484 : S00334 Amarandus, martyr at Vieux near Albi (Gaul), ob. before 484 : S00333

Saint Name in Source

Eugenius Amarandus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Tours Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Tours

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics

Cult activities - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Fair

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle at martyrdom and death Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future) Punishing miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children Merchants and artisans

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


Gregory, bishop of Tours from 573 until his death (probably in 594), was the most prolific hagiographer of all Late Antiquity. He wrote four books on the miracles of Martin of Tours, one on those of Julian of Brioude, and two on the miracles of other saints (the Glory of the Martyrs and Glory of the Confessors), as well as a collection of twenty short Lives of sixth-century Gallic saints (the Life of the Fathers). He also included a mass of material on saints in his long and detailed Histories, and produced two independent short works: a Latin version of the Acts of Andrew and a Latin translation of the story of The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. Internal references to datable events and to other work by Gregory, suggest that he wrote the greater part of his Glory of the Martyrs between 585 and 588, though there is one chapter (ch. 82), long before the end of the book, that describes an event that is most readily dated to 590. It is in fact likely that Gregory was collecting and recording these stories throughout his life, and, fortunately for our purposes, precise dating is not of great importance, since his views on the role of saints and the correct ways to venerate them do not seem to have changed during his writing life. The work was probably never fully completed and polished: the version we have closes with four very disparate chapters, including one (105) about the divine punishment of an avaricious woman that bears no obvious connection to the overall theme of the book. (For discussions of the dating, see Van Dam 2004, xi-xii; Shaw 2015, 104-105, 111.) In his preface, Gregory states that his aim in the work is 'to publicise some of the miracles of the saints that have until now been hidden' (aliqua de sanctorum miraculis, quae actenus latuerunt, pandere), so, as in his Glory of the Confessors, his focus is not on the lives of the saints, nor on the details of their martyrdoms, but on miracles they have effected, particularly through their relics. Miracles are recorded from many places; but unsurprisingly the largest number is from Gaul. The book opens, rather curiously, with a sizeable number of miracles and relics of Jesus and his mother Mary, neither of them conventional 'martyrs'. The explanation for this must be that Gregory's interest was really much more in relics and miracles in general than in martyrs specifically. Many of the Gallic saints he included are somewhat obscure, but outside Gaul he concentrates for the most part on major saints; towards the end of the book, however, he slips in a couple of lesser Syrian saints, probably because they had interesting specialisms: Phokas and Domitios, with, respectively, particular skills at curing snake bites and sciatica. In the case of the non-Gallic saints, it is not always clear whether they were attracting active cult in Gaul – Phokas and Domitios, for instance, almost certainly didn't. It is only when Gregory tells us of a church dedication or relic that we can be certain that the saint concerned had serious cult in Gaul: in the case of the martyrs of Rome, for instance, this is true of Clement and Laurence, but not of Chrysanthus and Daria, Pancratius, and John I. Although each section contains extraneous material, the work can be broken down very roughly into the following sections:    *Chapters 1-7: Miracles and relics of Jesus (with some of Mary), including three chapters (5-7) on relics of the Passion. (For the most part, these chapters are not covered in our database.)    *Chapters 8-19: Miracles and relics of Mary and John the Baptist.    *Chapters 20-25: Miraculous images of Jesus, and a spring associated with Easter.    *Chapters 23-34: Miracles and relics of the Apostles and Stephen (i.e. New Testament saints).    *Chapters 35-41: Miracles and relics of the post-apostolic martyrs of Rome.    *Chapters 42-46: And of northern Italy.    *Chapters 47-77: And of Gaul (in no obvious order, except that the first three chapters are occupied by early martyrs). This is the longest section of the book.    *Chapters 78-87: Very miscellaneous, with only marginal references to saints: three anti-Arian stories (79-81); two stories regarding relics of Gregory's (82-83); four stories of the punishment of impure people (84-87).    *Chapters 88-102: Miracles and relics of martyrs of Spain, Africa (just one, Cyprian of Carthage), and the East, in that order.    *Chapters 103-106: Miscellaneous. But tight structuring was never a great concern of Gregory's, so within this broad framework, he often wanders off his main theme. For instance, a clutch of miracle stories relating to John the Baptist (chs. 11-13) lead Gregory into a general discussion of the River Jordan (ch. 16), which then leads him to discuss some springs near Jericho (ch. 17), linked to the preceding chapter by the common theme of 'miraculous waters in the Holy Land', but with no connection to any martyr. Similarly, a miracle story involving relics of St Andrew and the punishment of an Arian count (ch. 78) leads Gregory into three stories against Arians with no relation to saints. These digressions did not bother Gregory and are part of the charm of his work. Gregory very seldom tells us about his sources, which for the most part were certainly oral; he had a wide circle of acquaintances within the Gallic church, and also met and collected stories from travellers from abroad, including (if the source is to be believed) a man who had travelled to India (ch. 31). But Gregory also used a range of written texts, including Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History (chs. 20 and 48), the poems of Prudentius, Paulinus of Nola, and Venantius Fortunatus, and a substantial number of Martyrdoms (Van Dam 2004, xiv-xvi). Because many of his stories are set abroad, Glory of the Martyrs is less informative about cult practices than Glory of the Confessors, with its very local and very Gallic focus, but it is still a gold-mine of information. To take just two examples: the story of Benignus of Dijon is a remarkably rich and detailed account of the discovery and enhancement of a previously unknown martyr (ch. 50), while that of Patroclus of Troyes shows the importance of a written Martyrdom, and the degree of scepticism that might greet a new one (ch. 63). There is a good general discussion of Glory of the Martyrs in Van Dam 2004, ix-xxiii, and of Gregory's hagiography more widely in Shaw 2015. (Bryan Ward-Perkins)


Eugenius became bishop of Carthage in about 480, and was therefore the leader of the Nicene community in the Vandal kingdom at the time of the persecution carried out by the Vandal king Huneric (r. 477-484). He is a central figure in Victor of Vita's History of the Vandal Persecution. After being sent into internal exile in a remote part of the Vandal kingdom by Huneric, he was eventually exiled to Gaul by a later Vandal king, Thrasamund, in about 502, and settled at Albi. Although Eugenius dies a peaceful death, Gregory seems to elevate him to the rank of martyr, both by including him in the Glory of the Martyrs and by stating that he 'had already triumphed as a victor over the torments of martyrdom', at the hands of Huneric. The main interest of this passage in terms of cultic practice is the documentation of a fair, with active traders, on the occasion of the saint's feast. The use of a saint to prove an oath is a common feature in Gregory's hagiography, here in an informal (rather than formal judicial) context.


Edition: Krusch, B., Liber in gloria martyrum, in: Gregorii Turonensis Opera. 2: Miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 1.2; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1969). Translation: Van Dam, R., Gregory of Tours, Glory of the Martyrs (Translated Texts for Historians 4; 2nd ed., Liverpool, 2004). Further reading: Shaw, R., "Chronology, Composition, and Authorial Conception in the Miracula", in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden-Boston 2015), 102-140.

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