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E02387: Gregory of Tours, in his Histories (10.29), gives an account of the life, miracles and death, in 591, of *Aredius (monk of Limoges, S00302). He builds churches to unnamed saints (S00518), provides them with relics, and founds a monastery near Limoges (western Gaul). Gregory describes several of his miracles, and refers to his own writings for further miracles of Aredius, performed through the power of *Julian (martyr of Brioude, S00035) and *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050); he bequeaths his possessions to the churches of Martin in Tours and *Hilary (bishop of Poitiers, ob. 367, S00183) in Poitiers; three women are cured at his funeral. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 591/594.

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posted on 2017-02-17, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Histories (Historiae) 10.29


[In this long chapter Gregory describes the life, the miracles and the death (in 591) of Aredius, an abbot from Limoges, whom he knew well and greatly admired (as is clear from many references in Gregory's work).]

Aredius was born in the territory of Limoges, but moved to eastern Francia to serve King Theudebert. He then left royal service to become a disciple of *Nicetius (bishop of Trier, ob. c. 565, S01305); in this period, a clear sign of his sanctity was given when a dove repeatedly flew down and settled on his head or shoulders.

On the death of his father and brother, Aredius returned to the Limousin to console his mother, *Pelagia (ascetic of Limoges, ob. c. 586) [In Glory of the Confessors 102, $E02765, she is presented as a saint; but not here in the Histories.] He built churches to the saints, and collected relics for them; he founded a monastery in the Limousin [Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche]. He restored to health all the sick who visited him, by making the sign of the cross on each with his hand.

During a pilgrimage to the church of Julian in Brioude he miraculously produced water from the ground; on another occasion he stayed dry by parting the rain-clouds; he cured a citizen of Tours of a terrible toothache. Gregory refers to his books of the miracles of Julian and of Martin. (For further miracles performed by these two saints through the hands of Aredius see $E02551, $E03217, $E3542).

Aredius came to Tours shortly after the feast of Martin (4th July) and visited Martin's tomb; on leaving he predicted his own death. He returned to his monastery and bequeathed his possessions to the churches of Martin in Tours and Hilary in Poitiers. Then he fell ill. On the sixth day of his illness, a possessed woman whom he had so far been unable to cure, proclaimed that a number of saints had assembled for the passing of Aredius (see $E02388). Aredius dies, and at his burial the possessed woman and a fellow sufferer are both cured. After the ceremony, a woman who was dumb is cured when she kisses his tomb.

Text: Krusch and Levison 1951, 522-525. Summary: Katarzyna Wojtalik.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Aredius, monk of Limoges (Gaul), ob. 591 : S00302 Anonymous saints : S00518 Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours (Gaul), ob. 397 : S00050 Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, ob. 368 : S00183 Julian, martyr of Brioude (Gaul), ob. late 3rd/early 4th c. : S0

Saint Name in Source

Aredius Martinus Hilarius Iulianus

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 - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Healing diseases and disabilities Power over elements (fire, earthquakes, floods, weather) Healing diseases and disabilities Material support (supply of food, water, drink, money) Other miracles with demons and demonic creatures Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people Women

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic


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.


Aredius' will survives: E06895. He was well known to Gregory, who mentions him frequently in his works (E00536, E00540, E02316, $02551, E05254, E05466, E05475). Whenever he is mentioned, Gregory mentions his holiness, and many of the stories involve miraculous events. But until his death, Gregory is careful to attribute the miracles to the relics of already established saints (Martin, Julian, Laurence and Clement); only here, after his death in 591, is Aredius unequivocally presented as a saint in his own right with an autonomous ability to effect miracles.


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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