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E03002: Gregory of Tours, in his Miracles of Martin (2.4), recounts how Veranus, a slave crippled by gout, was brought to the tomb of *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050) in Tours, his master, the priest Symon, made a vow and on the sixth day Veranus was cured; AD 573/574. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 575/581.

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posted on 2017-06-18, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Miracles of Martin (Libri de virtutibus sancti Martini episcopi) 2.4

Symonis fidelissimi conpresbiteri nostri servus Veranus nomine, qui erat ei in commissis prumptuariis praelibatus, dum ad custodiam sibi dispositam resederet, superveniente umore podagrico, pedum gressu multatur. Qui cum per totum annum talibus doloribus vexaretur, ut etiam vicinia in proximo posita commoveret, contractis subito nervis, ad plene debilitatur. Quod videns dominus eius, dolens exitum fidelis vernaculi, iussit cum ad pedes beati antestitis deportari, promittens votum et dicens: 'Si eum reddideris sanitati, piissime domne Martine, in illa die absolutes a meis servitiis vinculo, humiliatis capillis tuo servitio delegetur'. Positus ergo ad pedes pretiosissimi domni, cum per quinque dies ibidem iaceret immobilis, die sexte sopore conpremitur; et obdormiens, visum est ei, tamquam si in lectulo solitus sit homo pede extendere. Expergefactus autem, sanus ab omni debilitate surrexit. Qui, tunsorato capite, accepta libertate, beati domni usibus nunc deservit.

'A slave named Veranus belonged to Symon, my most faithful fellow priest. Veranus served Symon as inspector for the storerooms entrusted [to him]. While he was keeping the watch assigned to him, swelling due to gout
attacked him, and he was deprived of mobility in his feet. After Veranus was afflicted for an entire year with such pains that even his neighbours located nearby were moved by it, suddenly his muscles stiffened, and he was completely crippled. His master Symon saw this, grieved for the loss of a faithful slave, and ordered that Veranus be brought to the feet of the blessed bishop. He made a vow and said: "Most compassionate lord Martin, if you restore Veranus to health, he will be freed from the bond of slavery to me on that very day, tonsured, and transferred to your service." Veranus was then placed at the feet of the most beloved lord [Martin], and after he lay there without moving for five days, on the sixth day he was overwhelmed by sleep. While he was asleep, it seemed to him as if he were a man accustomed to stretch his foot on his bed. Once he awoke, he was cured from all his lameness and stood up. Veranus was tonsured, received his freedom, and now serves the needs of the blessed lord [Martin].'

Text: Krusch 1969, 160-161. Translation: Van Dam 1993, 231, lightly modified (de Nie 2015, 543).


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours (Gaul), ob. 397 : S00050

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles


  • 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


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Slaves/ servants


Gregory, of a prominent Clermont family with extensive ecclesiastical connections, was bishop of Tours from 573 until his death (probably in 594). He was the most prolific hagiographer of all Late Antiquity. He wrote four books on the miracles of Martin of Tours, one on those of Julian of Brioude, and two on the miracles of other saints (the Glory of the Martyrs and Glory of the Confessors), as well as a collection of twenty short Lives of sixth-century Gallic saints (the Life of the Fathers). He also included a mass of material on saints in his long and detailed Histories, and produced two independent short works: a Latin version of the Acts of Andrew and a Latin translation of the story of The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. Gregory's Miracles of Martin (full title Libri de virtutibus sancti Martini episcopi, 'Books of the Miracles of Saint Martin the Bishop'), consists of four books of miracles, 207 chapters in all, effected by Martin, primarily at his grave and shrine in Tours. Most of them occurred at the time of the saint's festivals, on 4 July and 11 November. Gregory tried to record the miracles in chronological order, so historians have been able to calculate quite precisely the dates of the events and miracles mentioned in the work. This fairly precise chronology has enabled scholars to determine the dates of completion of each book. There have been three main dating schemes proposed for the composition of the four books. The oldest was suggested by Monod in 1872, another by Krusch in 1885, and then one by Van Dam in 1993 (for fuller discussion, see Shaw 2015, 103-105). Their datings of the individual books do not vary substantially, and in our entries we have given only those of Van Dam. Shaw 2015 convincingly demolishes an earlier theory, that Gregory wrote the Miracles in two distinct stages: a first stage that was written during a particular period, and a second stage in the early 590s, in which Gregory revised the whole work. Book 1, with 40 chapters, was written between 573 and 576. In the prologue, Gregory mentions that he started writing after he became bishop of Tours in August 573. Book 1 must have been completed by 576, since Venantius Fortunatus in a letter to Gregory of that year referred to it (Epistula ad Gregorium 2, prefatory letter to Fortunatus' Life of Martin, MGH Auct. ant. 4.1, p. 293). Book 2 consists of 60 chapters. It must have been finished before November 581, because the last miracles it mentions occurred in November 580, while the first ones recorded in Book 3 happened in November 581. Using the same methodology, the completion of Book 3, which also covers 60 chapters, can be dated between 587 and July 588. Book 4, which consists of 47 chapters, seems never to have been completed, presumably because of Gregory’s death. There are two main arguments in support of the idea that it is unfinished. Firstly, Book 4 has no conclusion and no tidy number of chapters, while each of Books 1 to 3 has these elements. Secondly, the last story recorded in Book 4 is not about Gregory himself, unlike the final stories of Books 2 and 3. Book 1 covers miracles that occurred before Gregory’s episcopate in Tours. The next three books are a running chronicle of Martin’s miracles under Gregory’s episcopate. Some of the miracles are recorded in very summary form, while others are much more elaborately presented: because of this, it has been argued that Gregory first jotted down notes, and only subsequently gave the stories full literary treatment (which in some cases, he was never able to do). The three completed books of the Miracles of Martin were probably released as they were completed, rather that published together. In this sense they are the exception amongst Gregory's writings, since the rest of his work was not finally completed and seems to have been unpublished at the time of his death. For discussion of the work, see: Krusch, B. (ed.), Gregorii episcopi Turonensis miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 1,2; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1969), 2–4. Monod, G., Études critiques sur les sources de l’histoire mérovingienne, 1e partie (Paris, 1872), 42–45. Shaw, R., "Chronology, Composition and Authorial Conception in the Miracula," in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden-Boston, 2015), 102–140. Van Dam, R., Saints and Their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton, 1993), 142–146, 199.


Editions and translations: Krusch, B. (ed.), Gregorii episcopi Turonensis miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 1,2; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1969), 134–211. Van Dam, R. (trans.), Saints and Their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton, 1993), 200–303. de Nie, G. (ed. and trans.), Lives and Miracles: Gregory of Tours (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 39; Cambridge MA, 2015), 421–855. Further reading: Murray, A.C. (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden-Boston, 2015). Shanzer, D., "So Many Saints – So Little Time ... the Libri Miraculorum of Gregory of Tours," Journal of Medieval Latin 13 (2003), 19–63.

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