University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E05639: Venantius Fortunatus, in a poem on an oratory built by a certain 'Trasaricus', mentions its relics of *Peter (the Apostle, S00036), *Paul (the Apostle, S00008), *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050) and *Remigius (bishop of Reims, ob. c. 533, S00456); perhaps in Toul (eastern Gaul), in the mid-6th c. Poem 2.13, written in Latin in Gaul, 565/576.

online resource
posted on 2018-06-03, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Venantius Fortunatus, Poems 2.13 (De oratorio Trasarici, 'On the oratory of Trasaricus')

Lucida perspicui nituerunt limina templi,
   quo capit haud dubiam spem veneranda fides.
Haec est aula Petri, caelos qui clave catenat,
   substitit et pelagus quo gradiente lapis.
Sedibus his Paulus habitat, tuba gentibus una,          5
   et qui praedo prius, hic modo praeco manet.
Martini domus est, Christum qui vestit egentem,
   regem tiro tegens et homo iure deum.
Ecce sacerdotis sacri micat aula Remedi
   qui tenebras mundi liquit et astra tenet.                 10
Cultor opime dei templum, Trasarice, locasti:
   has cui persolvis reddet amator opes.

'The threshold of the radiant church has won a brilliant luster, where pious faith receives hopes that brook no doubt. This is the hall of Peter, who confines the sky with his keys, and at whose step sea became solid stone. (5) Paul occupies this abode too, sole clarion to the nations; a man who once was a persecutor, but now is a preacher. It is the house of Martin, who clothed Christ as a poor man, a raw recruit cloaking a king and a man rightly covering God. (9) See, too, the hall of the holy bishop Remedius is aglow, who has left the darkness of the world to occupy the stars. Trasaricus, noble devotee of God, you have set up a church; this wealth you expend, its recipient will pay back to you in love.'

Text: Leo 1881, 41-42. Translation: Roberts 2017, 103.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397 : S00050 Remigius, bishop of Reims, ob. 533 : S00456

Saint Name in Source

Peter Paulus Martinus Remedius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems


  • 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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Venantius Fortunatus

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic


Venantius Fortunatus was born in northern Italy, near Treviso, and educated at 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, as well as 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 in the 590s he became bishop of the city; he is presumed to have died early in the 7th century. For Fortunatus' life, see Brennan 1985; George 1992, 18-34; Reydellet 1994-2004, vol. 1, vii-xxviii; PCBE 4, 'Fortunatus', 801-822. The eleven books of Poems (Carmina) by Fortunatus were almost certainly collected and published at three different times: Books 1 to 7, which are dedicated to Gregory of Tours, in 576; Books 8 and 9 after 584, probably in 590/591; and Books 10-11 only after their author's death. A further group of poems, outside the structure of the books, and known from only one manuscript, has been published in modern editions as an Appendix to the eleven books. For further discussion, see Reydellet 1994-2004, vol. 1, lxviii-lxxi; George 1992, 208-211. Almost all of Fortunatus' poems are in elegiac couplets: one hexameter line followed by one pentameter line. For the cult of saints, Fortunatus' poems are primarily interesting for the evidence they provide of the saints venerated in northern Gaul, since many were written to celebrate the completion of new churches and oratories, and some to celebrate collections of relics. For an overview of his treatment of the cult of saints, see Roberts 2009, 165-243.


The Trasaricus of this poem was perhaps Trisericus, bishop of Toul, documented in the mid 6th century (Roberts 2017, 848). For Trasaricus see PCBE 4, 'Trasaricus', pp. 1894-1895.


Editions and translations: Leo, F., Venanti Honori Clementiani Fortunati presbyteri Italici opera poetica (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auctores Antiquissimi 4.1; Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1881). Roberts, M., Poems: Venantius Fortunatus (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 46; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017). George, J., Venantius Fortunatus, Personal and Political Poems (Translated Texts for Historians 23; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1995). Reydellet, M., Venance Fortunat, Poèmes, 3 vols. (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1994-2004). Further reading: Brennan, B., "The Career of Venantius Fortunatus," Traditio 41 (1985), 49-78. George, J., Venantius Fortunatus: A Latin Poet in Merovingian Gaul (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992). Roberts, M., The Humblest Sparrow: The Poetry of Venantius Fortunatus (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009).

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager