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E03519: The anonymous Gallic Chronicle of 452, written in Latin in Gaul in the mid 5th c., records the discovery of the relics of *Gervasius and Protasius (martyrs of Milan, S00313) by *Ambrose (bishop of Milan, ob. 397, S00490), in Milan (northern Italy).

online resource
posted on 2017-08-03, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Gallic Chronicle of 452, 14

Reliquiae Gervasi et Protasii martyrum ab Ambrosio primum Mediolani repertae.

'The relics of Gervasius and Protasius the martyrs are first discovered by Ambrose at Milan.'

Text: Mommsen 1892, 646 (Burgess 2001, 68). Translation: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Ambrose, bishop of Milan (ob. 397) : S00490 Gervasius and Protasius, martyrs of Milan (Italy), ob. 1st/4th c. : S00313

Saint Name in Source

Ambrosius Gervasius, Protasius

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 name in other Language(s)

Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


The Gallic Chronicle of 452 was written by an unknown author who is generally located by scholars in southern Gaul on the basis of the prominence of southern Gallic events in the Chronicle. The last event mentioned in the Chronicle is the invasion of Italy by Attila in 452. It is therefore assumed to have been compiled at around that date, hence its modern title. For full discussion see Muhlberger 1990, 136-192; Burgess 2001, 52-65. The Gallic Chronicle of 452 is a continuation of the chronicle of Jerome, beginning when Jerome's concludes (in the 370s), and has the same chronological system, which makes simultaneous use of years from the birth of Abraham, Olympiads, and regnal years of Roman emperors (Burgess 2001, 52, 57-60).


The discovery of the bodies of Gervasius and Protasius by Ambrose of Milan is one of the best known incidents involving the discovery and translation of relics in late antiquity (e.g. the account in Augustine's Confessions, E01019). The event occurred in 386; it is in approximately the correct chronological position in the Chronicle. The chronicler's source for his entry on the event is probably the Life of Ambrose by Paulinus of Milan (E00904), which was the source for other entries about Ambrose (Mommsen 1892, 646, n. 8).


Editions: Mommsen, T., Chronica Gallica a.CCCCLII, in: Chronica Minora saec. IV. V. VI. VII., vol. 1 (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Auctores Antiquissimi 9; Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1892), 646-662. Burgess, R., "The Gallic Chronicle of 452: A New Critical Edition with a Brief Introduction," in: R.W. Mathisen and D. Shanzer (eds.), Society and Culture in Late Antique Gaul: Revisiting the Sources (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), 52-84, pp. 67-82. English translation: Murray, A.C., From Roman to Merovingian Gaul: A Reader (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2000), 76-85. Further reading: Muhlberger, S., The Fifth-Century Chroniclers: Prosper, Hydatius, and the Gallic Chronicler of 452 (Leeds: Francis Cairns, 1990).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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