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E00034: Gregory of Tours, in his Life of *Quintianus (bishop of Rodez and Clermont, ob. 525, S00028), recounts how *Amantius (bishop of Rodez, late 5th c., S00026) objected to Quintianus moving his body to an enlarged church, and appeared to Quintianus, predicting his exile from Rodez (south-west Gaul); AD 511/515. From Gregory's Life of the Fathers, written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 573/594.

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posted on 08.09.2014, 00:00 by CSLA Admin
Gregory of Tours, Life of the Fathers 4.1

(1) ... [Quintianus] auctam beati Amanti antestitis basilicam, sanctum corpus in antea transtulit; sed non fuit sancto acceptabile hoc opus. Unde factum est, ut per visum apparens diceret ei: "Quia ausu temerario artus in pace quiescentes visus es amovisse, ecce ego removeam te ab hac urbe, et eris exul in regione altera; verumtamen non privaberis ab honore quo frueris".

'(1) ... he [Quintianus] enlarged the church of the blessed bishop Amantius and then moved his body there. But this deed was not acceptable to the saint. So it happened that Amantius appeared to Quintianus in a vision and said "Since you have rashly taken my bones from where they rested in peace, I shall remove you from this town and you will be an exile in another land; but nevertheless you will not be deprived of the honour which you enjoy".'

There follows an account of Quintianus' exile to Clermont, caused by conflict with the local community and with the Gothic masters of Rodez.

Text: Krusch 1969, 224. Translation: Marta Tycner.
Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

History

Evidence ID

E00034

Saint Name

Amantius, bishop of Rodez (Gaul) in the late 5th c. : S00026

Saint Name in Source

Amantius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives of saint

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

573

Evidence not after

593

Activity not before

500

Activity not after

520

Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Tours

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

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Tours

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Renovation and embellishment of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Punishing miracle Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Saint aiding or preventing the translation of relics

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Transfer, translation and deposition of relics Raising of relics

Source

Gregory, bishop of Tours from 573 until his death (probably in 594), was the most prolific hagiographer of all Late Antiquity. He wrote four books on the miracles of Martin of Tours, one on those of Julian of Brioude, and two on the miracles of other saints (the Glory of the Martyrs and Glory of the Confessors), as well as a collection of twenty short Lives of sixth-century Gallic saints (the Life of the Fathers). He also included a mass of material on saints in his long and detailed Histories, and produced two independent short works: a Latin version of the Acts of Andrew and a Latin translation of the story of The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. The Life of the Fathers by Gregory of Tours is different from his other hagiographical works (Miracles of Julian, Miracles of Martin, Glory of the Confessors and Glory of the Martyrs), which all concentrate on posthumous miracles of the saints. The Life of the Fathers, by contrast, describes the exemplary behaviour in life of twenty Gallic saints (for a list of the Lives, see $E05870). Gregory himself draws this contrast in the opening words of his preface: 'I had decided to write only about what has been achieved with divine help at the tombs of the blessed martyrs and confessors; but I have recently discovered information about those who have been raised to heaven by the merit of their blessed conduct here below, and I thought that their way of life, which is known to us through reliable sources, could strengthen the Church' (trans. James 1991, 1). In this preface Gregory also explains why he chose to call the book Life of the Fathers, not Lives of the Fathers: because they all lived the same bodily life. The nineteen Lives of men, and the single Life of a woman (Life 19), all relate to holy people of Gaul, the majority living in the mid to later sixth century. Although this agenda is unspoken, there can be little doubt that Gregory wrote these Lives partly to show that holiness, and the miraculous, were not just things of the past, but very much present within the Gaul of his day (a message that he expressed explicitly in his Histories). Almost all the saints he describes were active within one or other of the two dioceses with which Gregory was most familiar (his native Clermont, and Tours, the city of his episcopate), or indeed were his relatives (all bishops - Life 6 is of an uncle, Life 7 of a great-grandfather, and Life 8 of a great-uncle). Although Gregory says in his preface that they all shared one bodily life, in reality his saints fall into one of two distinct categories: holy bishops who are effective leaders of their flocks but only moderately ascetic (Lives 2, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 17), and holy ascetics who have withdrawn from the world and sometimes engage in extreme mortification of the body (Lives 1, 3, 5, 9-16, and 18-20). Gregory's work was unquestionably didactic in purpose - teaching the correct way to lead a good Christian life, and it is notable, for instance, how, in this work written by a bishop, his ascetics accept episcopal correction when necessary (Lives 15.2 and 20.3, in both cases from Gregory himself), and might even delay their death to suit the timetable of a bishop (Life 10.4). Because the focus is on the lives of these holy people, there is much less emphasis on their cult after death than in Gregory's other hagiographical works; however, all the Lives close with an account of the burial of the saint, and in almost all cases with reference to posthumous miracles recorded there (the exceptions are Lives 10, 11 and 20, which have no reference to miracles at the tomb). Gregory probably collected material for the Life of the Fathers (and perhaps wrote individual Lives) over a long period of time. However, from the words of his preface (quoted above) and from other references within the text, it is evident that he assembled his material into the polished work we have today only towards the very end of his life, after he had already written much of his extensive hagiography recording the miracles of saints lying in their graves. Because Gregory's views on saints do not seem to have changed during his writing life, we have not here expended energy in exploring the possible dating of individual lives, merely recording them all as written some time between 573 and 594. For more on the text, and on its dating: James 1991, xiii-xix; Shaw 2015, particularly 117-120.

Discussion

For an overview of the Life of Quintianus, see E00036). The conflict between Quintianus and his community, and his consequent exile, are also described in Gregory's Histories 2.36, with no reference to the role of Amantius and the involvement of the supernatural. On its possible grounds (the position of Quintianus in the Visigothic-Frankish/Arian-Catholic controversy, the politics of Clovis) and dating (before or after 507) see James 1991, 22, n. 4. The text is not explicit as to where the body of Amantius was moved from and to, but strongly implies that it is into the enlarged church of the saint (later Saint-Amans). If so, it is almost certain that what is recorded here is the elevation of a saintly body and its location in a suitably embellished and extended space (see for instance the account of the moving of the body of *Illidius, E00022). A Merovingian sarcophagus, traditionally attributed to Amantius, is located today in the cathedral of Rodez. A bishop's interest in the cult and relics of his predecessor is a very common and politically understandable occurrence: a prominent saint increases the prestige of one's see. Gregory provides a supernatural explanation for the political vicissitudes that drove Quintianus into exile. Interestingly, in the more 'secular-minded' Histories, Gregory gives only a political explanation. See also Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, no. 229 (church of Saint-Amans); James 1977, Catalogue A, no. 8; Cabrol and Leclercq 1924-1953, vol. XIV, 2458 (on the sarcophagus).

Bibliography

Edition: Krusch, B., Gregorii Turonensis Opera. 2: Miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum I.2; 2nd ed.; Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1969). Translation: James, E., Gregory of Tours. Life of the Fathers (Translated Texts for Historians 1; 2nd ed.; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1991). de Nie, G., Gregory of Tours, Lives and Miracles (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 39; Cambridge MA, 2015). Further reading: Cabrol, F., and Leclercq, H. (eds.), Dictionnaire d’archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie. 15 vols (Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1924-1953). James, E., The Merovingian Archaeology of South-West Gaul. 2 vols (British Archaeological Reports Supplementary Series 25; Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 1977). Shaw, R., "Chronology, Composition, and Authorial Conception in the Miracula", in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden-Boston 2015), 102-140. Vieillard-Troiekouroff, M., Les monuments religieux de la Gaule d’après les œuvres de Grégoire de Tours (Paris: H. Champion, 1976).

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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