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E00897: Latin poem on the martyrdom of *Fructuosus, bishop of Tarragona, and his deacons Augurius and Eulogius (S00496) is composed by Prudentius, writing c. 400 in Calahorra (northern Spain). The poem, part of his Crowns of the Martyrs (Peristephanon), calls the martyrs patrons of Tarragona (north-eastern Spain), and gives details about the veneration of their relics.

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posted on 2015-11-26, 00:00 authored by mtycner
Liber Peristephanon, Poem VI


The three saints are described as patrons of Tarragona: see $E00903.

Bishop Fructuosus and his deacons, Augurius and Eulogius, are dragged to prison where they spend six days; Fructuosus encourages his two companions. They baptise their fellow prisoners. After six days they are called before the judge who wants them to sacrifice to the pagan gods; they refuse. They are sentenced to death by fire. Fructuosus refuses a cup of water offered to him by someone from the crowd, like Christ who did not drink during his passion. Fructuosus and his deacons are led to the amphitheatre where a pyre is prepared. A man from the crowd wants to untie Fructuosus' shoes, but the bishop does it himself: he explains that nobody should enjoy special favour from a martyr and that he is going to make request of Christ for the whole world. As the martyrs approach the pyre a voice from heaven reassures them and promises them a quick path to heaven. The fire first burns the martyrs' bounds so that they can lift their arms in prayer. As they die, a companion of the governor and his daughter see their souls being lifted up to heaven. Their ashes are gathered and venerated by the people of Tarragona (see $E00921).

Prudentius describes them as patrons of the city and calls the people of Tarragona to praise them: see $E00922.

Text: Cunningham 1966: 314-320. Translation: Thomson 1953, 203-213. Summary M. Tycner.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Fructuosus, Auguris and Eulogius, bishop and his two deacons, martyrs of Tarragona (Spain), ob. 259 : S00496

Saint Name in Source

Fructuosus, Augurius, Eulogius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Calahorra Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Major author/Major anonymous work


Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Pagans Other lay individuals/ people

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - corporeal ashes/dust


Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348–after 405) was a Christian aristocrat from Calahorra in the Spanish province of Tarraconensis. He was a high official in the imperial bureaucracy in Rome, but withdrew from public life, returned to Calahorra, and dedicated himself to the service and celebration of God. Most of what we know about his biography comes from the preface to the ensemble of his works, which can be reliably dated to 404 (Cunningham 1966, 1-2), and other autobiographical remarks scattered throughout his works (for a detailed discussion, see Palmer 1989, 6-31). He composed several poetical works, amongst them the Peristephanon (literally, On the Crowns [of the Martyrs]), a collection of fourteen poems of different length describing martyrdoms of saints. We do not know exactly at which point in his literary career Prudentius wrote the preface (possibly at the very end, just before publication); for attempts at a precise dating of the Peristephanon, see Fux 2013, 9, n. 1. The poems in the Peristephanon, written in elegant classical metres, deal mainly with martyrs from Spain, but some of them are dedicated to saints of Rome, Africa and the East. The poems were widely read in the late antique and medieval West, and had a considerable influence on the diffusion of cult of the saints included. In later periods they were sometimes used as hymns in liturgical celebrations and had an impact on the development of the Spanish hymnody. Some indications in the poems suggest that they were written to commemorate the saints on their feast days, but Prudentius probably did not compose them for the liturgy of his time. Rather, they probably provided 'devotional reading matter for a cultured audience outside a church context' (Palmer 1989, 3; see also Chapter 3 in her book).


The poem is written in the Phalaecian metre.


Editions of the Peristephanon: Cunningham, M.P., Prudentii Carmina (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 126; Turnhout: Brepols, 1966), 251-389. Bergman, J., Prudentius, Carmina (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 61; Vienna, 1926), 291-431. Translations of the Peristephanon: Eagan, C., Prudentius, Poems (Fathers of the Church 43; Washington D.C.: Catholic University Press, 1962), 95-280. English translation. Thomson, H.J., Prudentius, vol. 2 (Loeb Classical Library; London Cambridge, Mass: W. Heinemann; Harvard University Press, 1953), 98-345. Edition and English translation. Further reading: Fux, P.-Y., Prudence et les martyrs: hymnes et tragédie. Peristephanon 1. 3-4. 6-8. 10. Commentaire, (Fribourg: Academic Press, 2013). Malamud, M.A., A Poetics of Transformation: Prudentius and Classical Mythology (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989). Palmer, A.-M., Prudentius on the Martyrs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989). Roberts, M., Poetry and the Cult of the Martyrs: The "Liber Peristephanon" of Prudentius (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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