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E05936: The Chronicle of Fredegar describes how in 626 Godinus, son of the Mayor of the Palace Warnacharius, took refuge from the anger of King Chlothar II in the church of *Aper (bishop of Toul, ob. 6th c., S02195) in Toul (eastern Gaul). He is later forced to visit various churches, ostensibly to strengthen his fidelity to Chlothar by swearing oaths in them. Includes references to the burial churches of *Medard (bishop of Noyon, buried at Soissons, ob. 557/558, S00168), *Denis/Dionysius (bishop and martyr of Paris, S00349), *Anianus (bishop of Orléans, ob. 454, S01206), and *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050). Written in Latin in Gaul/Francia, 659/700.

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posted on 2018-07-10, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Chronicle of Fredegar 4.54

Godinus, the son of Warnacharius, Mayor of the Palace in Burgundy (ob. 626), has angered King Chlothar by marrying his father's widow.

Godinus cernens suae uitae periculum habere, terga uertens cum uxore ad Dagoberto regi perrexit in Auster et in eclesia sancti Apri, regio timore perterritus, fecit confugium. Dagobertus per legatus pro eius uita saepius Chlothario regi depraecabat. Tandem a Chlothario promittitur Godino uita concessa, tamen ut Bertanem, quam contra canonum instituta uxorem acciperat, relinquerit. Quod cum ipsa reliquisset et reuersus est in regnum Burgundiae, Berta continuo ad Chlotharium perrexit, dicens si Godinus conspecto Chlothariae presentatur, ipsum regem uellet interficere. Godinus iusso Chlothariae per precipua loca sanctorum, domni Medardi Soissionas et domni Dionisis Parisius, ea preuentione sacramenta daturus adducitur ut semper Chlothariae deberit esse fidelis, ut congruae locus esset repertus, quo pacto separatus a suis interficeretur. Chramnulfus unus ex procerebus et Valdebertus domesticus dicentes ad Godino ut Aurilianis in ecclesia sancti Aniani et Thoronos ad limina sancti Martini ipsoque sacramento adhuc impleturus adiret. Quod cum in suburbano Carnotis, Chramnulfo indecante et transmittente, ora prandiae in quedam uillola uenisset, ibique Ramnulfus et Waldebertus super ipsum cum exercito inruunt eumque interficiunt et eos qui cum ipso adhunc resteterant, quosdam interficiunt aliusque expoliatus in fugam uertentes relinquunt.

'Finding his life in danger, Godinus and his wife fled to King Dagobert in Austrasia; but such was his fear of the king that he took refuge in the church of Saint Aper. Dagobert repeatedly sent deputations to Chlothar to obtain a pardon for Godinus; and finally Chlothar said that he would spare his life on condition that Godinus gave up Bertha, whom he had married contrary to canon law. So Godinus did give up Bertha and returned to the kingdom of Burgundy. But Bertha went straight to Chlothar and averred that if Godinus appeared before the king it would be with the intention of killing him. In consequence, Chlothar had Godinus conducted to the principal places of the saints, Saint Medard at Soissons and St Denis at Paris, on the pretext of making him swear lifelong fidelity but in fact only with the object of finding a suitable place to kill him. A magnate called Chramnulf and Waldebert, the domesticus, told Godinus that he must now visit the church of Saint Anianus at Orléans and the shrine of Saint Martin at Tours to repeat his oath. When he had reached the outskirts of Chartres and was about to break his fast at a farm to which Chramnulf had brought him, Waldebert and Chramnulf went for him and killed him. They also killed some of those who were still with him but let others escape after they had been plundered.'

Text and translation: Wallace-Hadrill 1960 (translation adapted).


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Dionysius/Denis, bishop and martyr of Paris : S00349 Medard, bishop of Noyon buried at Soissons (Gaul), ob. 557/558 : S00168 Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397 : S00050 Anianus, bishop of Orleans (northern Gaul), ob. AD 453 : S01206 Ape

Saint Name in Source

Dionisius Medardus Martinus Anianus Aper

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

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



The work known as the Chronicle of Fredegar dates from the second half of the 7th century. There is a long history of controversy over the questions of how many authors were involved in its compilation and precisely when they worked, but the current consensus is that it was produced by a single author working in one of the Frankish kingdoms at some point after 659 (Collins 1996, 83, 91-96). While the first three books of the chronicle largely reproduce earlier sources, Book 4 is an original composition, covering events from 584 to 642.


Five churches are mentioned in this passage. Godinus first takes refuge in the church of Aper at Toul. After he gives himself up to Chlothar he is sent to swear fidelity at the churches of Medard at Soissons and Dionyius (Saint-Denis) just outside Paris, which Fredegar calls 'the chief places of the saints' (precipua loca sanctorum). After doing so, he is ordered to go to the church (ecclesia) of Anianus at Orléans, and the shrine (limina, literally 'thresholds', a common word for saints' shrines) of Martin at Tours. However, he is killed before he reaches them. While most of the churches mentioned in this passage are very well attested, Fredegar's is the earliest surviving reference to the church of Aper at Toul (Gauthier 1986, 59). While the precise dates of Aper (PCBE 4, 'Aper 9') are uncertain, his death, and hence the foundation of the church, was probably in the 540s (his successor is attested at a council in 549). For further information, see, on the church of Medard at Soissons, Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 289-290, and Gaillard 2006, 56; on Saint-Denis, Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 252-253; on the church of Anianus at Orléans, Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 199-200, and Picard 1992, 91-92; on the church of Martin at Tours, Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 311-324, and Pietri 1987, 32-35.


Edition and translation: Wallace-Hadrill, J.M., The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar (London, 1960). Further reading: Collins, R., "Fredegar," in: P.J. Geary (ed.), Authors of the Middle Ages: Historical and Religious Writers of the Latin West, vol. 4, nos. 12-13 (Aldershot, 1996), 73-138. Gaillard, M., "Soissons," in: N. Gauthier, B. Beaujard, and F. Prévot (eds.), Topographie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule des origines au milieu du VIIIe siècle, vol. 14: Province ecclésiastique de Reims (Belgica Secunda) (Paris, 2006), 47-57. Gauthier, N., "Toul," in: N. Gauthier and J.-Ch. Picard (eds.), Topographie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule, vol. 1: Province ecclésiastique de Trèves (Belgica Prima) (Paris, 1986), 55-59. Pietri, L., "Tours," in: N. Gauthier and J.-Ch. Picard (eds.), Topographie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule des origines au milieu du VIIIe siècle, vol. 5: Province ecclésiastique de Tours (Lugdunensis Tertia) (Paris: Boccard, 1987), 19-39. Picard, J.-Ch., "Orléans," in: N. Gauthier and J.-Ch. Picard (eds.), Topographie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule, vol. 8: Province ecclésiastique de Sens (Lugdunensis Senonia) (Paris, 1992), 81-96. Vieillard-Troiekouroff, M., Les monuments religieux de la Gaule d'après les œuvres de Grégoire de Tours (Paris, 1976).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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