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E07834: Victor of Tunnuna describes how *African confessors whose tongues were cut out by the Vandals (S01481) under King Huneric in 484 were miraculously still able to speak. He mentions other oppressive actions by Huneric, including the martyrdom of *Laetus (bishop and martyr of Nepte, ob. 484, S02837) and the ill-treatment of *Eugenius (bishop of Carthage exiled to Albi in Gaul, S00334). Entry in his Latin Chronicle, written in Constantinople in 564/566.

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posted on 2019-11-24, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Victor of Tunnuna, Chronica

Hugnericus Wandalorum rex persecutioni per totam Africam nimis insistens Tubunis, Macri et Nippis aliisque heremi partibus catholicos iam non solum sacerdotes et cuncti ordinis clericos, sed et monachos atque laicos quattuor circiter milia exiliis durioribus relegat et confessores ac martyres facit confessoribusque linguas abscidit. quos confessores, quod linguis abscisis perfecte finem adusque locuti sunt, urbs regia attestatur, ubi eorum corpora iacent. tunc Laetus Neptensis civitatis episcopus gloriose martyrio coronatur VIII kal. Octob. die et Eugenius episcopus Carthaginensis ecclesiae post dira heremi exilia plurimis afflictionibus poenisque clarus habetur.

'Consulship of Zeno Augustus [AD 479]
Huneric, king of the Vandals, bringing excessive persecution to the whole of Africa, relegated around four thousand catholics, not just bishops and clerics of every kind, but also monks and laypeople to Tubunae, Macri, Nippae and other parts of the desert, and made confessors and martyrs, and cut out the tongues of confessors. The royal city [Constantinople], where their bodies lie, attests that these confessors, after their tongues were cut out, spoke perfectly until the end [of their lives]. Then Laetus, bishop of the city of Nepte was crowned with glorious martyrdom on the 8th day before the Kalends of October [= 24 September], and Eugenius, the bishop of the church of Carthage, after terrible exile was famed for his many afflictions and punishments.'

Text: Mommsen 1894, 189. Translation: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

African confessors whose tongues were cut out by the Vandals : S01481 Eugenius, bishop of Carthage, exiled to Albi in Gaul, ob. 505 : S00334 Laetus, bishop and martyr of Nepte, Africa, ob. 484 : S02837

Saint Name in Source

Eugenius Laetus

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

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Oral transmission of saint-related stories

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracles experienced by the saint Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people Foreigners (including Barbarians) Heretics Ecclesiastics - bishops


Victor was a bishop of the city of Tunnuna (or Tonnona) in Latin North Africa, the exact location of which is unknown. He was expelled from his see during the Three Chapters controversy. During his exile he stayed for several years in Egypt, but in 564 was transferred to Constantinople. There he wrote his Latin Chronicle. Only the part covering the years 444-567 is extant. Up to AD 518 it is based mostly on the Church History of Theodore Anagnostes. The written sources of the following part are not easy to identify, but Victor was deeply involved in ecclesiastical politics and had a firsthand knowledge of many events that he mentioned in the Chronicle.


Victor of Tunnuna was a resident of Constantinople when he composed his Chronicle. It is therefore quite likely that his claim that the city 'attests' (attestatur) the confessors' miraculous ability to talk is based on local traditions as well as literary sources. Particularly notable, however, is his reference to the burial of the confessors in Constantinople (ubi eorum corpora iacent), a claim about them which does not appear elsewhere. That Victor is not talking vaguely here, but had actual tombs in mind, is shown by a subsequent chronicle entry in which he refers to a named individual being buried there: E07835. The persecution described in this entry is reliably dated by other sources to 484. Victor's date of 479 is erroneous.


Edition: Mommsen, T., Victori Tonnonennsis episcopi chronica, in: Chronica minora saec. IV. V. VI. VII. (II) (Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Auctores Antiquissimi 11; Berlin, 1894), 184-206.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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