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E05422: Venantius Fotunatus writes the Miracles of Hilary, in Latin in Poitiers (western Gaul), in 567/568. Overview entry.

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posted on 2018-05-14, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Venantius Fortunatus, Miracles of Hilary (Libri de virtutibus sancti HilariiI, BHL 3887)

Overview entry:

1 and 2. Fortunatus dedicated his work to Pascentius, bishop of Poitiers, and told about motives for his writing – see $E07839.

3. Probianus, a boy at the point of death, was cured in the church of Hilary in Poitiers – see E05413.

4. Castorius and Crispius, two lepers from Cahors (south-west Gaul) were cured after they applied over a period of time dust from the tomb of Hilary – see E05414.

5. A girl with a crippled hand was cured at the tomb of Hilary – see E05415.

6. A blind man was cured when he entered the church of Hilary in Poitiers during his journey to the church of *Martin (S00050) in Tours (north-west Gaul) – see E05416.

7. Clovis, king of the Franks, prayed to Hilary after he saw a beacon of light coming from the saint's church in Poitiers, and won his battle against the Arians – see E05417.

9. A woman from the village of Tonant (north-east Gaul), whose hand had been paralysed when she carried water on a Sunday, had a vision and came to the church of Hilary in Poitiers, where she was cured – see E05418.

10. A paralysed girl was healed in the church of Hilary in Poitiers during his festival – see E05419.

11. Hilary rejected the wax given at his tomb by an unwilling merchant – see E05420.

12. The candle which fell on the cloth covering the tomb of Hilary but did not damage it – see E05421.

Summary: Katarzyna Wojtalik.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Hilarius/Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, ob. 367 : S00183

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)

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Venantius Fortunatus

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts


Venantius Fortunatus was born in northern Italy, near Treviso, and educated in Ravenna. In the early 560s he crossed the Alps into Merovingian Gaul, where he spent the rest of his life, making his living primarily through writing Latin poetry for the aristocracy of northern Gaul, both secular and ecclesiastical. His first datable commission in Gaul is a poem to celebrate the wedding in 566 of the Austrasian royal couple, Sigibert and Brunhild. His principal patrons were Radegund and Agnes, the royal founder and the first abbess of the monastery of the Holy Cross at Poitiers, Gregory, the historian and bishop of Tours, Leontius, bishop of Bordeaux, and Felix, bishop of Nantes, but he also wrote poems for several kings and for many other members of the aristocracy. In addition to occasional poems for his patrons, Fortunatus wrote a four-book epic poem about Martin of Tours, and several works of prose and verse hagiography. The latter part of his life was spent in Poitiers, and, probably in the 590s, he became bishop of the city; he is presumed to have died early in the 7th century. Fortunatus' Miracles of Hilary (Liber de virtutibus sancti Hilarii) consists of thirteen very short chapters describing only nine miracles. The work is a complement to his Life of Hilary (see E06713). Both the Miracles and the Life are dedicated to Pascentius, bishop of Poitiers, which enables us to date their composition with some precision to 567/568, since Fortunatus almost certainly arrived in Poitiers in 567, while Pascentius died, and was succeeded as bishop by Meroveus, in 568. Gregory of Tours used the Life and Miracles, in Glory of the Confessors 2 (see E02452) and Histories 2.37 (see E02032).


Edition: Krusch, B., Venanti Honori Clementiani Fortunati presbyteri Italici Opera pedestria (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auctores Antiquissimi 4.2; Berolini: Apud Weidmannos, 1885). Translation: Van Dam, R., Saints and Their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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