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E03298: Gregory of Tours, in his Miracles of Martin (2.45), recounts how two blind boys from the territory of Poitiers (western Gaul) were healed in the church of *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050) in Tours; one of them, who was also unable to walk, came to Martin's cell at Candes (western Gaul) and was cured there during vigils; AD 577/578. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 578/581.

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posted on 2017-07-16, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Miracles of Martin (Libri de virtutibus sancti Martini episcopi) 2.45

Two boys from the village of Voultegon in the territory of Poitiers witness a gathering of demons: one is struck blind, the other rendered both blind and crippled

Cumque per multorum annorum curricula in bis infirmitatibus gravarentur, unus, qui tantum lumen caruerat, ad beati Martini basilicam devote veniens, ut orationem explevit, statim visum recepit. Alius, in eodem sancto loco lumine recepto, ad propria rediens, adhuc debilis claudicabat. Veniensque ad cellulam Condatensim, in qua lectum viri beati habetur, dum ibidem nocte dominica vigiliae celebrarentur, subito, orante populo, sensit virtutem divinam adesse. Et spectante plebe super terram trahens, contra parietem erexit, in quo fenestra retenetur, quae fuit quondam beati corporis porta. Et orans atque prae gaudio lacrimans, integrae sanitati restituitur, nec ulterius ullam pertulit de malis infirmitatibus gravitatem.

'After they suffered from their infirmities through the passage of many years, the one boy who had lost only his sight piously came to the church of the blessed Martin in order to offer a prayer; immediately he recovered his sight. The other boy also recovered his sight in the same holy place, but was returning home still weak and lame. Coming to the cell at Candes that contained the bed of the blessed man, while vigils were being celebrated there on the night before a Sunday, he suddenly felt that divine power was present while the people were praying. As the people watched, the boy crawled along the ground and stood up next to the wall in which there was the window that had once been the doorway for [Martin’s] blessed body. While praying and weeping for joy the boy was restored to complete health, and never again did he suffer any discomfort from these evil infirmities.'

Text: Krusch 1969, 175. Translation: Van Dam 1993, 251-252, lightly modified (de Nie 2015, 629-631).

History

Evidence ID

E03298

Saint Name

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

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles

Language

  • Latin

Evidence not before

577

Evidence not after

581

Activity not before

577

Activity not after

578

Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Tours

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

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Children Other lay individuals/ people Demons

Source

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.

Bibliography

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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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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