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E06223: An authentic Merovingian royal diploma records the immunities guaranteed by Childebert III, king of the Franks, to the monastery at Tussonval (northern Gaul) dedicated to *Dionysius (bishop and martyr of Paris, S00349) and *Marcellus (probably the 5th c. bishop of Paris, S01301). Written in Latin, probably at Nogent-sur-Marne (northern Gaul), 696.

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posted on 2018-08-20, 00:00 authored by bsavill, Bryan
MGH DD Mer. 147 (excerpt)

Childeberthus rex Franc(orum) v(iris) inl(ustribus) [...] venera(be)l(is) vir Magnoaldus abba de monastirio Tusoneualle, que est in pago Camliaciacinse, quem in honore s(an)c(t)i Diunisiae et s(an)c(t)i Marcelli , avuncolus suus Chardericus quond(am) abba sup(er) rem sua propria edeficavit et monastirio sub s(an)c(t)a rigola ibid(em) constituissit et ibid(em) ipso venera(be)l(i) viro Magnoaldo abbat(i) constituit esse rictorem. Sed ipsi vir Magnoald(us) abba petiit celsitudinem nostri, ut quicquid ad ipso monastiriolo , tam ad ipso abbat(e) quam et ad D(e)o timentis homenibus, in quibuslibet ribus adque corporibus ibidem fuit aut fuerit additum vel prolatum, unde et precepcione domno et genetore nostro Theuderico quond(am) rege se ex hoc pre manibus habire adfirmat, ut null(us) iudex poplicus ad causas audiendum vel fridda exigendum ibid(em) introitum nec ingressum habire non deberit. Quod nus pro mercidis nostri augmentum concessisse vel pristetisse seo confirmasse cognuscite [...] Datum quod ficit minsis Aprilis dies octo, ann(um) secundum rigni nostri, in D(e)i nomi(ne), Nouinginto, fil(iciter).

'Childebert, king of the Franks, to his noble men ... The venerable man Magnoald [is] abbot of the monastery of Tussonval, which is in the country of Chambly, which his uncle, the late Abbot Charderic, built in honour of Saint Dionysius and Saint Marcellus over his own property; and he put that same monastery under a holy rule; and he installed this venerable man, Abbot Magnoald, as ruler over that same place. And this man Magnoald has asked of our majesty concerning this same monastery – as much the abbot as the men fearing God there, and whatever properties or corpora have been granted, or will be granted, to that same place – that no public iudex should enter that same place to hear cases or exact fines, as our father, the lord Theuderic, the late king, confirmed by his own order. Know therefore, that we have granted, provided, and confirmed, for the increase in our riches, that ... Given on the eighth day of the month of April, in the second year of our reign, happily in God's name at Nogent.'

Kölzer 2001, 369-71. Translation: B. Savill.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Dionysius/Denis, bishop and martyr of Paris : S00349 Marcellus, bishop of Paris, ob. AD 450/500 : S01301 Marcellus, martyr of Chalon-sur-Saône (Gaul) : S00323 Marcellus, bishop of Die (south-east Gaul), ob. AD 510 : S01287

Saint Name in Source

Diunisia Marcellus Marcellus Marcellus

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Charter or diploma Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment sheet


  • 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)

Nogent-sur-Marne Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Monarchs and their family


According to the judgement of their most recent editor, 54 authentic or substantially authentic royal diplomas/charters survive from Merovingian Gaul which are dated or datable to the period up to ad 700. Of these, 34 appear to relate directly to the cult of saints, and are included in our database. All but one, possibly two (E06133, E06141), of the charters included here date from the 7th century, mostly its final quarter. Although a number of these diplomas have come down to us only in later cartulary copies, a remarkably large proportion (21 of our 34) survive as single-sheet, original manuscripts, the great majority of which come from the monastery of Saint-Denis. Due to the nature of western archival survivals, all these documents concern either land, legal immunities, or rights to tolls, and are preserved exclusively through interested religious institutions. For a hint, however, of the kind of Merovingian documents we may have lost, the scribal templates found in the Formulary of Marculf are suggestive (see e.g. E06231, E06233). This Tussonval diploma survives as an original parchment manuscript, now Paris, Archives nationales, K 3 n. 10.


Tussonval is not directly identifiable, but is said here to have stood somewhere in the district (pagus) of Chambly. Since this is only c. 40 km/25 miles north of Paris, it seems probable that the Marcellus mentioned here is the 5th century bishop of that city, an identification also supported by his pairing with Dionysius/Denis, the martyr of Paris.


Edition: Kölzer, T., Die Urkunden der Merowinger, 2 vols. (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Diplomata; Hannover, 2001). Further reading: Brühl, C., Studien zu den merowingischen Königsurkunden, ed. T. Kölzer (Cologne, 2001). Kölzer, T., Merowingerstudien, 2 vols. (Hannover, 1998-1999).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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