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E04600: Gregory of Tours, in his Miracles of Martin (4.40), tells of a mute man from Cantabria (northern Spain), who first sent a coin to the church of *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050) in Tours and was rewarded for his generosity, and then set off to visit in person and was cured during the journey; AD 592. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 592/594.

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posted on 2018-01-13, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Miracles of Martin (Libri de virtutibus sancti Martini episcopi) 4.40

Quidam in regione Cantabriae Mauranus nomine mane a lectulo consurgens, dum de domo egreditur, visum est ei quasi ab aliquo percussus fuerit in cervicem. Qui protinus ruens in terram, factus est tamquam mortuus, ac per triduum solo spiritu vivens, tamquam mortuus putabatur. Quarta autem die apertis oculis, nihil poterat loqui. Ablata enim ei fuerat fandi facultas.

Auditis enim beati Martini miraculis, unum triantem nautis porregit, innuens cum supplicatione, ut eum ad beati antistitis templum deferrent. Quibus abeuntibus, ille ad domum suam reversus, vidit ante pedes suos aureum in similitudine triantis. Quo adsumpto pensatoque, unius solidi appensus est pondere. Quod ille cernens, dixit intra se: 'Reddidit mihi virtus beati Martini meritum pro fenore, quod eius templo direxi'.

Et accensus desiderio, voluit in unam atque aliam navem conscendere, sed a parentibus est retentus. Reperta autem tertia nave, retenere penitus non potuit. Qua ascensa, cum inpellente vento altum mare ingressi fuissent, os eius virtus sancti antistitis reseravit. Qui, extensis ad caelum manibus, locutus est, dicens: 'Gratias tibi ago, omnipotens Deus, qui me hoc iter sulcare iussisti. Iam enim, priusquam templum sancti tui videam, eius beneficiis sum refertus'. Quibus navigantibus, Burdigala urbe adpulsi sunt; egressusque hinc de navi, ad basilicam sancti accedens ac votum suum exsolvens, quae scripsimus ab ipsius ore relata cognovimus.

'In the region of Cantabria a man named Mauranus rose from his bed one morning. While he was leaving his house, it seemed to him as if someone had struck him in the neck. He immediately fell to the ground and became as if dead. For three days he [seemed] to be alive only because of his breathing, and he was considered to be as if dead. On the fourth day his eyes were opened, but he could say nothing, because the power of speaking had been taken from him.

After hearing about the miracles of the blessed Martin he offered a small gold coin (trians) to some sailors and requested through nods that they bring it to the church of the blessed bishop [Martin]. The boatmen left. When Mauranus returned to his own home, he saw in front of his feet a gold piece that looked like a trians. But when he picked it up and weighed it, it balanced at the weight of a whole solidus. After Mauranus realized this, he said to himself: 'The power of the blessed Martin has restored recompense to me for the loan that I sent to his church.'

He was excited with desire; but although he wished to board first one and then a second ship, he was restrained by his parents. But when he found a third ship, he could not be restrained any longer. He boarded this ship, and when they reached the high seas as the wind was blowing, the power of the holy bishop opened his mouth. Mauranus extended his hands to heaven and spoke. He said: 'Omnipotent God, I thank you who have ordered me to set sail on this trip. For already before I have seen the church of your saint, I have been filled with his blessings.' The men sailed on and landed at Bordeaux. Here Mauranus disembarked from the ship, went to the saint’s church, and fulfilled his vow. I learned about this account that I have written down from his own mouth.'

Text: Krusch 1969, 209-210. Translation: Van Dam 1993, 301, lightly modified (= de Nie 2015, 843-845).


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours, 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

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Oral transmission of saint-related stories

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Unspecified miracle Material support (supply of food, water, drink, money) Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people Ecclesiastics - bishops


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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