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E05941: The Chronicle of Fredegar mentions that the magnate Ermenfred sought sanctuary in the church of *Remigius (bishop of Reims, ob. c. 533, S00456) at Reims, northern Gaul, in 642. Written in Latin in Gaul/Francia, 659/700.

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posted on 2018-07-11, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Chronicle of Fredegar 4.83

Anno tercio regni Chlodouiae Aega Clipiaco uilla uixatus a febre moretur. Ante paucis diaebus Ermenfredus, qui filiam Aegane uxorem receperat, Chainulfo comiti in Albiodero uico in mallo interfecit. Ob hanc rem grauissema stragis de suis rebus iussionem et permissum Nantilde a parentibus Ainulfi et populum pluremum fiaetur. Ermenfredus in Auster Remus ad baselecam sancte Remediae fecit confugium ibique diebus plurimis hanc infestacionem deuitando et rigio temore residit.

'In the third year of the reign of Clovis [II], Aega succumbed to fever and died at Clichy. Some days previously, Ermenfred, who had married Aega's daughter, had killed Count Chainulf in the court held at Augers, in consequence of which his possessions were savagely attacked by Chainulf's family and many others, with the approval and permission of [Queen] Nantechildis. Ermenfred sought refuge in the Austrasian church of Saint Remigius at Reims, and stayed there many days to escape from attack as well as from the royal wrath.'

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Remigius, bishop of Reims, ob. 533 : S00456

Saint Name in Source


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

Seeking asylum at church/shrine

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.


Aega, Ermenfred's father-in-law, was Mayor of the Palace and regent of the child king Clovis II, following the death of his father Dagobert I in 639. Though this is not not mentioned by Fredegar, the events in this entry intersect with the biography of the disciple of Columbanus and monastic founder Burgundofara (S02682). Chainulf, the man killed by Ermenfred was her brother (attested in her will, E07793). In the account of Burgundofara in Jonas of Bobbio's Life of Columbanus, Aega is portrayed as her enemy and the persecutor of her community at Faremoutiers: his death is presented as a divine judgement (Life of Columbanus 2.17; E07615). It was therefore Burgundofara's family who, in Fredegar's words, 'savagely attacked' Ermenfred's possessions. The death of Aega is important here, since it deprived Ermenfred of protection against their vengeance, and is presumably the reason he was obliged to seek sanctuary in a church (pointed out by Fox 2014, 69) For discussions of this passage in the context of contemporary secular and ecclesiastical politics, see Isaïa 2010, 288-91, and the references to Aega and Ermenfred in Fox 2014, and O'Hara and Wood 2017. On the church of Remigius, see Pietri and Neiss 2006, 42.


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. Fox, Y., Power and Religion in Merovingian Gaul: Columbanian Monasticism and the Frankish Elites (Cambridge, 2014). Isaïa, M.-C., Remi de Reims. Mémoire d'un saint, Histoire d'une Église (Paris, 2010). O'Hara, A., and Wood, I. (trans.), Jonas of Bobbio: Life of Columbanus, Life of John of Réomé, Life of Vedast (Translated Texts for Historians 64; Liverpool, 2017). Pietri, L., and Neiss, R., "Reims," 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), 21-45.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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