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E05231: Gregory of Tours, in his Miracles of Julian (30), describes how the possessed complained at the presence of many saints attending the feast of *Julian (martyr of Brioude, S00035) in Brioude (central Gaul): *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050), *Privatus (bishop and martyr of Javols, S01184), *Ferreolus (soldier and martyr of Vienne, S01893), *Symphorianus (martyr of Autun, S00322) and *Saturninus (bishop and martyr of Toulouse, S00289). Written in Latin in Clermont and Tours (central and north-west Gaul), 573/587.

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posted on 2018-03-19, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Miracles of Julian (Liber de passione et virtutibus sancti Iuliani martyris) 30

Inergumini vero cum advenerint, plerumque evoment in sanctum Dei convitia, cur sanctus alios ad suam convocat festa, ipsosque nominatim confitentes, eorum fatentur virtutes et merita. Aiunt enim: 'Sufficiat tibi, luliane, nos propria virtute torquere; ut quid reliquos provocas? quid invitas extraneos? Ecce Martinum Pannonicum inimicum iugiter nostrum, qui tres a nostris cavernis repulit mortuos. Adest Privatus ex Gabalis, qui oves suas barbaris, nostra instigatione commotis, tradere noluit. Advenit Ferreolus collega tuus ex Viennensibus, qui nobis in te supplicium, incolis praesidium misit. Quid Sinphorianum Aeduum, quid Saturninum vocas Tholosanum? Adgregasti concilium, ut nobis ingeras infernale tormentum'. Haec et his similia dicentibus, ita sanctos Dei humanis mentibus repraesentant, ut nulli sit dubium, eos inibi commorari; multi tamen ab his infirmi curantur et sani recedunt.

‘When the possessed came they spewed out many complaints against this saint of God: why he invited to his festivals other saints whom they mentioned by name and whose powers and merits they described. They said: ‘Julian, let it be enough for you to torture us with your own power. Why are you summoning others? Why are you inviting outsiders? Behold Martin of Pannonia, our perpetual foe, who has removed three dead men from our caverns. Privatus of Javols is here, who was unwilling to surrender his flock to the barbarians whose attack we had instigated. Your colleague Ferreolus has come from Vienne, who through you has sent punishment for us and protection for the inhabitants. Why are you summoning Symphorianus of Autun, why Saturninus of Toulouse? You have convened a council with the purpose of inflicting ruinous torments on us.’ By making these comments and others like them these possessed men conjured up in men’s minds the saints of God in such a way that no one doubted that the saints were present there. Then many ill people were cured by these saints and departed with their health.’

Text: Krusch 1969, 126-127. Translation: Van Dam 1993, 183, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Julian, martyr of Brioude : S00035 Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397 : S00050 Privatus, bishop and martyr of Javols (southern Gaul), ob. 3rd/4th/5th century : S01184 Ferreolus, martyr of Vienne (eastern Gaul), ob. AD 303/304 : S01893 S

Saint Name in Source

Iulianus Martinus Privatus Ferreolus Sinphorianus Saturninus

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 Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Tours Clermont

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Tours

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Exorcism


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.


Edition: Krusch B., Gregorii episcopi Turonensis Miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum I.2; 2nd ed.; Hannover 1969), 112–134. Translation: de Nie. G., Lives and Miracles: Gregory of Tours (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 39; Cambridge MA, 2015). Van Dam, R., Saints and their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton, 1993), 200–303. Further reading: Murray A.C. (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden and 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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