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E02427: Gregory of Tours, in his Histories (10.31), recounts how *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050) performed miracles during his lifetime and after his death: he raised three men. He translated the body of *Gatianus (first bishop of Tours, S01175) and placed it beside the tomb of *Litorius (bishop of Tours, ob. 370/371, S01214) in the church of Litorius in Tours. He built the church of the Apostles *Peter and *Paul (S00036 and S00008) at the monastery of Marmoutier in the Touraine. Sulpiciius Severus wrote his Life and many miracles happen at his grave. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 591/594.

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posted on 2017-02-26, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Histories (Historiae) 10.31

Sanctus Martinus fecitque multa signa in populos, ita ut ante episcopatum duos suscitaret mortuos, post episcopatum autem unum tantummodo suscitavit. Hic transtulit corpus beati Catiani sepelivitque eum iuxta sepulchrum sancti Litorii in illa nominis sui praefata basilica.

'Saint Martin, performed many miracles among the people: before he was made Bishop he raised two men from the dead, but after his consecration he raised only one. He translated the body of Saint Gatianus and buried Him beside the tomb of Saint Litorius, in the church named after this latter.'


Consummato ergo praesentis vitae cursu, obiit apud Condatensim vicum urbis suae anno LXXXI. aetatis. De quo vico navigio sublatus, Turonus est sepultus in loco, quo nunc adoratur sepulchrum eius. De cuius vita tres a Severo Sulpicio libros conscriptos legimus. Sed et praesenti tempore multis se virtutibus declarat. In monasterio vero qui nunc Maior dicitur basilicam in honore sanctorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli aedificavit.

'When his earthly course was run, he died in Candes, a village in his own diocese, in his eighty-first year. From that village he was carried by boat and buried in Tours on the spot where his tomb is now venerated. I have read a life of Saint Martin in three books written by Sulpicius Severus. He manifests himself still today by many miracles. In the monastery now called the Great he built a church in honour of the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul.'

Text: Krusch and Levison 1951, 527. Translation: Thorpe 1974, 594-595.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours (Gaul), ob. 397 : S00050 Gatianus, the bishop of Tours, ob. c. AD 301 : S01175 Litorius, bishop of Tours (north-west Gaul), ob. c. AD 370/371 : S01214 Peter the Apostle : S00036 Paul, the Apostle : S00008

Saint Name in Source

Martinus Catianus Litorius Petrus Paulus

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 - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Unspecified miracle Power over life and death Miracle after death

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


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.


On the church of Litorius, see E07787.


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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