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E06849: Hymn in honour of *Saturninus (bishop and martyr of Toulouse, S00289) composed in Latin in Gaul possibly in the 5th century.

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posted on 2018-10-12, 00:00 authored by mszada
Hymnodia Hispanica, Hymn 163

The hymn starts with a stanza referring to the arrival of the King, allusion to the Advent, the liturgical period in which the feast of Saturninus was celebrated (29 November, cf. $E05086). Then, the next strophes make reference to events from life and martyrdom of Saturninus – that he was the bishop of Toulouse and was martyred in this city (strophe 2), that his teaching caused the fall of idols and silenced the demons (strophes 3 and 4), that he was killed by being tied to a bull (strophe 5) and that he was buried and his tomb become the place of cult:

(6) Huius inlesi cineres dicato
rite transferri tumulo merentur,
quo fides cultu gemini honoris
20 aucta maneret.

'(6) His intact ashes deserved to be translated solemnly to the tomb so that faith may increase with the cult of the double honour [i.e. of virginity and martyrdom].'

The next strophe (7) addresses Christ asking him to come and join his believers with saints. Then follows the praise of the Trinity (strophe 8).

Text: Sánchez 2010, 595-597. Summary and translation: M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Saturninus, bishop and martyr of Toulouse : S00289

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Liturgical texts - Hymns 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, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

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

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


The hymn is written in sapphic stanzas and the editors and commentators have noted its high quality (Blume 1897, 231; Pérez de Urbel 1926, 117). Pérez de Urbel believed that the hymn might have been composed in the 4th or 5th century in Visigothic Gaul, and even proposed that its author was Ausonius. Szöverffy (1998, 18–20) agrees to the 5th century dating and notes that the hymn 'is worthy to be called an heir of the Prudentian hymn tradition'. The hymn is transmitted in Psalmi Cantica et Hymni, Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, ms. 10001 (9th–11th c.); in Codex Emilianensis, Biblioteca de la Real Academia de la Historia 30 (10th c.), with a lacuna in verses 1–11; Alia Officia Toletana, British Library, ms. 30845 (11th c., omits verses 1–4); and Psalmi Cantica et Hymni, British Library, ms. 30851. The hymn is also recorded in the tenth-century hymnary from Moissac (Dreves 1888: 89) so it was known also in the Gallic liturgical tradition.


Edition: Castro Sánchez, J., Hymnodia hispanica (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 167; Turnhout: Brepols, 2010). Castro Sánchez, J., Hymnodia hispánica (Corpus Christianorum in Translation 19; Turnhout: Brepols, 2014). Spanish translation. Further reading: Blume, C., Die Mozarabischen Hymnen des alt-spanischen Ritus (Leipzig, 1897). Diaz y Diaz, M.C., Códices visigóticos en la monarquía leonesa (León: Centro de Estudios e Investigación "San Isidoro", 1983). Fábrega Grau, Á., Pasionario hispánico (Madrid, Barcelona: Atenas A.G., 1953). Férotin, M., Le Liber Mozarabicus sacramentorum et les manuscrits mozarabes (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1912). Norberg, D., An Introduction to the Study of Medieval Latin Versification (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2004). Pérez de Urbel, J., "Origen de los himnos mozárabes," Bulletin Hispanique 28 (1926), 5-21, 113-139, 209-245, 305-320. Pinell, J. M., "Fragmentos de códices del antiguo Rito hispánico," Hispania Sacra 17 (1964), 195-229. Szövérffy, J., Iberian Latin Hymnody: Survey and Problems (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998).

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