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E02370: Gregory of Tours, in his Histories (10.8), recounts how, sometime before 571, at mass in Clermont (central Gaul) on the feast of *Julian (martyr of Brioude, S00035), Cautinus, bishop of Clermont, sought Julian's judgement on a man suspected of having murdered his mother. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 590/594.

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posted on 2017-02-12, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Histories (Historiae) 10.8

Convenientibus autem civibus cum sacerdote ad festivitatem beati martiris Iuliani, ad pedes episcopi Eulalius ille prosternitur, quaerens se inauditum a commonione remotum. Tunc episcopus permisit eum cum ceteris missarum spectare sollemnia. Verum ubi ad communicandum ventum est et Eulalius ad altarium accessisset, ait episcopus: 'Rumor populi parricidam te proclamant esse. Ego vero, utrum perpetraveris hoc scelus an non, ignoro; idcirco in Dei hoc et beati martiris Iuliani statuo iudicium. Tu vero, si idoneus es, ut adseris, accede propius et sume tibi eucharistiae particulam atque inpone ore tuo. Erit enim Deus respector conscientiae tuae'. At ille, accepta eucharistia, communicans abscessit.

'On the feast of Saint Julian, the blessed martyr, when his flock assembled before Cautinus, the Bishop of Clermont, Eulalius [the man suspected of having murdered his mother] threw himself at the feet of Cautinus and complained that he had been excluded from communion without a proper hearing. The Bishop gave him permission to remain in the congregation and to attend the Mass. When the moment came for Eulalius to receive communion and he went up to the altar, Cautinus said to him: ‘It is common talk among the people that you killed your own mother. I do not know whether or not you really committed this crime. I therefore leave it to God and to the blessed martyr Julian to judge this matter. If you really are innocent, as you maintain, draw near, take your portion of the consecrated bread and place it in your mouth. God will be looking into the deepest confines of your heart.’ Eulalius took the consecrated bread, communicated and went his way.'

Text: Krusch and Levison 1951, 489. Translation: Thorpe 1974, 554.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Julian, martyr of Brioude (Gaul), ob. late 3rd/early 4th c. : S00035

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 - Liturgical Activity

  • Eucharist associated with cult

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people Officials Ecclesiastics - bishops


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.


The feast of Julian was celebrated on 28 August.


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. Vieillard-Troiekouroff, M., Les monuments religieux de la Gaule d'après les œuvres de Grégoire de Tours (Paris, 1976).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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