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E01794: Gregory of Tours, in his Histories (1.45), describes miracles effected by *Illidius (bishop of Clermont, ob. 384/5, S00022) during his lifetime, and after death at his tomb at Clermont (central Gaul). Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 575/594.

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posted on 2016-08-09, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Histories (Historiae) 1.45

Quo defuncto, sanctus Illidius successit, vir eximiae sanctitatis ac praeclarae virtutis, qui in tanta sanctitate emicuit, ut fama eius etiam extraneos fines adiret. Unde factum est, ut imperatoris Treverici filiam expetitus ab spiritu inmundo curaret, quod in libro illo, quem de eius vita conscripsimus, memoravimus. Fuit autem, ut fama refert, valde senex et plenus dierum plenusque bonis operibus; qui felici consummatione vitae huius perfunctus tramitem, migravit ad Christum, sepultusque in cripta suburbano civitatis illius. Habuit autem et archidiaconum nomine et merito Iustum; qui et cursum vitae bonis consumans operibus, magistri tumulo sociatur. Iam vero post transitum beati Illidi confessoris ad gloriosum eius sepulchrum tante virtutes apparent, ut nec scribi integre queant nec memoriae retineri.

'When Legonus died, Saint lllidius replaced him. He was a man of such remarkable holiness and impeccable virtue, and his sanctity was so clear for all to see, that his fame reached lands outside Gaul. As a result he was summoned to Trier by the Emperor, so that he might cure his daughter of an unclean spirit. I have told this story already in the book which I wrote on the life of lllidius. He lived, so the story goes, to be a very old man, full of days and full of good works. When he had completed his life’s journey, he died peacefully and went off to join our Lord. He was buried in a crypt in a suburb of his own city of Clermont. He had an Archdeacon who was with good reason called Justus. When this Justus had come to the end of a life filled with good works, he was placed beside his master in the same tomb. After the death of this saintly Bishop lllidius so many miracles were performed at his tomb that it is not possible to record them or even to remember them.'

Text: Krusch and Levison 1951, 29. Translation: Thorpe 1974, 94.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Illidius, bishop of Clermont (Gaul), ob. 384/5 : S00022

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • 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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle after death Exorcism Unspecified miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives


Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


Gregory of Tours wrote the Histories (Historiae) during his episcopate in Tours (573–594). They constitute the longest and most detailed historical work of the post-Roman West. Gregory's focus is Gaul under its Frankish kings, above all the territories of Tours and (to a lesser extent) Clermont, where he had been born and brought up. Much of his work tells of the years when, as bishop of an important see, he was himself centrally involved in Frankish politics. The Histories are often wrongly referred to as a History of the Franks. Although the work does contain a history of the rulers of Francia, it also includes much hagiographical material, and Gregory himself gave it the simple title the 'ten books of Histories' (decem libri historiarum), when he produced a list of his own writings (Histories 10.31). The Histories consist of ten books whose scope and contents differ considerably. Book 1 skims rapidly through world history, with biblical and secular material from the Creation to the death in AD 397 of Martin of Tours (Gregory’s hero and predecessor as bishop). It covers 5596 years. In Book 2, which covers 114 years, the focus moves firmly into Gaul, covering the years up to the death of Clovis in 511. Books 3 and 4, which cover 37 and 27 years respectively, then move fairly swiftly on, closing with the death of king Sigibert in 575. With Book 5, through to the final Book 10, the pace slows markedly, and the detail swells, with only between two and four years covered in each of the last six books, breaking off in 591. These books are organised in annual form, based on the regnal years of Childebert II (r. 575-595/6). There continues to be much discussion over when precisely Gregory wrote specific parts of the Histories, though there is general agreement that none of it was written before 575 and, of course, none of it after Gregory's death, which is believed to have occurred in 594. Essentially, scholars are divided over whether Gregory wrote the Histories sequentially as the years from 575 unfolded, with little or no revision thereafter, or whether he composed the whole work over the space of a few years shortly before his death and after 585 (see Murray 2015 for the arguments on both sides). For an understanding of the political history of the time, and Gregory's attitude to it, precisely when the various books were written is of great importance; but for what he wrote about the saints, the precise date of composition is of little significance, because Gregory's attitude to saints, their relics and their miracles did not change significantly during his writing-life. We have therefore chosen to date Gregory's writing of our entries only within the broadest possible parameters: with a terminus post quem of 575 for the early books of the Histories, and thereafter the year of the events described, and a terminus ante quem of 594, set by Gregory's death. (Bryan Ward-Perkins, David Lambert) For general discussions of the Histories see: Goffart, W., The Narrators of Barbarian History (A.D. 550–800): Jordanes, Gregory of Tours, Bede, and Paul the Deacon (Princeton, 1988), 119–127. Murray, A.C., "The Composition of the Histories of Gregory of Tours and Its Bearing on the Political Narrative," in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden and Boston, 2015), 63–101. Pizarro, J.M., "Gregory of Tours and the Literary Imagination: Genre, Narrative Style, Sources, and Models in the Histories," in: Murray, A Companion to Gregory of Tours, 337–374.


Avitus, bishop of Clermont in the 6th c., added a circular apse to the church that was constructed over the crypt with the tomb of Illidius and transferred there Illidius' tomb. This was done to ease access for pilgrims praying at the tomb. The church of Illidius became the funerary church for the bishops of Clermont. It is now located in the abbey of Saint-Alyre (Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 90-93; Prévot 1989, 33-34). For Gregory's Life of Illidius, in his Life of the Fathers, which he refers to here, see E00024.


Edition: Krusch, B., and Levison, W., Gregorii episcopi Turonensis Libri historiarum X (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum I.1; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1951). Translation: Thorpe, L., Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks (Penguin Classics; London, 1974). Further reading: Murray, A.C., "The Composition of the Histories of Gregory of Tours and Its Bearing on the Political Narrative", in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden-Boston 2015), 63-101. Prévot, F., "Clermont," in N. Gauthier and J.-Ch. Picard (eds.), Topographie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule des origines au milieu du VIIIe siècle, vol. 6: Provinces ecclésiastique de Bourges (Aquitania Prima) (Paris, 1989), 27-40. Vieillard-Troiekouroff, M., Les monuments religieux de la Gaule d'après les œuvres de Grégoire de Tours (Paris, 1976).

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