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E02030: Gregory of Tours, in his Histories (2.11), describes how, in c. 457, the deposed emperor Avitus (r. 455-456), threatened with his life, sought to reach the church of *Julian (martyr of Brioude, S00035) in Brioude (central Gaul), but died on the way and was buried close to the martyr. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 575/594.

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posted on 21.11.2016, 00:00 by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Histories (Historiae) 2.11

Avitus enim unus ex senatoribus et – valde manefestum est – civis Arvernus, cum Romanum ambisset imperium, luxoriosae agere volens, a senatoribus proiectus, apud Placentiam urbem episcopus ordenatur. Conperto autem, quod adhuc indignans senatus vita eum privari vellit, basilica sancti Iuliani Arverni martyres cum multis muneribus expetivit. Sed impleto in itenere vitae cursu, obiit, delatusque ad Brivatinsem vicum, ad pedes antedicti martyres est sepultus.

'The senator Avitus, who, as is well known, came from Clermont, succeeded in becoming emperor, but his way of life was too libidinous, and he was deposed by the other senators. Later he was ordained bishop at Piacenza. When he discovered that the Senate was still hostile to him and wished to have him killed, he set out for the church of Saint Julian, the martyr of Clermont, taking with him many gifts. On the journey he died and his body was carried to the village of Brioude, where it was buried at the feet of the above-named martyr.'

Text: Krusch and Levison 1951, 60-61. Translation: Thorpe 1974, 128; lightly modified.
Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

History

Evidence ID

E02030

Saint Name

Julian, martyr of Brioude (Gaul), ob. late 3rd/early 4th c. : S00035

Saint Name in Source

Iulianus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

575

Evidence not after

594

Activity not before

456

Activity not after

457

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

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Officials

Source

Gregory of Tours wrote the Histories (Historiae) during his episcopate in Tours (573–594). They constitute the longest and most detailed historical work of the post-Roman West. Gregory's focus is Gaul under its Frankish kings, above all the territories of Tours and (to a lesser extent) Clermont, where he had been born and brought up. Much of his work tells of the years when, as bishop of an important see, he was himself centrally involved in Frankish politics. The Histories are often wrongly referred to as a History of the Franks. Although the work does contain a history of the rulers of Francia, it also includes much hagiographical material, and Gregory himself gave it the simple title the 'ten books of Histories' (decem libri historiarum), when he produced a list of his own writings (Histories 10.31). The Histories consist of ten books whose scope and contents differ considerably. Book 1 skims rapidly through world history, with biblical and secular material from the Creation to the death in AD 397 of Martin of Tours (Gregory’s hero and predecessor as bishop). It covers 5596 years. In Book 2, which covers 114 years, the focus moves firmly into Gaul, covering the years up to the death of Clovis in 511. Books 3 and 4, which cover 37 and 27 years respectively, then move fairly swiftly on, closing with the death of king Sigibert in 575. With Book 5, through to the final Book 10, the pace slows markedly, and the detail swells, with only between two and four years covered in each of the last six books, breaking off in 591. These books are organised in annual form, based on the regnal years of Childebert II (r. 575-595/6). There continues to be much discussion over when precisely Gregory wrote specific parts of the Histories, though there is general agreement that none of it was written before 575 and, of course, none of it after Gregory's death, which is believed to have occurred in 594. Essentially, scholars are divided over whether Gregory wrote the Histories sequentially as the years from 575 unfolded, with little or no revision thereafter, or whether he composed the whole work over the space of a few years shortly before his death and after 585 (see Murray 2015 for the arguments on both sides). For an understanding of the political history of the time, and Gregory's attitude to it, precisely when the various books were written is of great importance; but for what he wrote about the saints, the precise date of composition is of little significance, because Gregory's attitude to saints, their relics and their miracles did not change significantly during his writing-life. We have therefore chosen to date Gregory's writing of our entries only within the broadest possible parameters: with a terminus post quem of 575 for the early books of the Histories, and thereafter the year of the events described, and a terminus ante quem of 594, set by Gregory's death. (Bryan Ward-Perkins, David Lambert) For general discussions of the Histories see: Goffart, W., The Narrators of Barbarian History (A.D. 550–800): Jordanes, Gregory of Tours, Bede, and Paul the Deacon (Princeton, 1988), 119–127. Murray, A.C., "The Composition of the Histories of Gregory of Tours and Its Bearing on the Political Narrative," in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden and Boston, 2015), 63–101. Pizarro, J.M., "Gregory of Tours and the Literary Imagination: Genre, Narrative Style, Sources, and Models in the Histories," in: Murray, A Companion to Gregory of Tours, 337–374.

Discussion

The accuracy, and the source, of Gregory's account of the death of Avitus, and his burial at Brioude, is uncertain – he recounts the story as a further indication of the considerable prestige of the shrine of Julian. For a detailed description of the church of Julian at Brioude, see Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 65-70.

Bibliography

Edition: Krusch, B., and Levison, W., Gregorii episcopi Turonensis Libri historiarum X (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum I.1; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1951). Translation: Thorpe, L., Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks (Penguin Classics; London, 1974). Further reading: Murray, A.C., "The Composition of the Histories of Gregory of Tours and Its Bearing on the Political Narrative", in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden-Boston 2015), 63-101. Vieillard-Troiekouroff, M., Les monuments religieux de la Gaule d'après les œuvres de Grégoire de Tours (Paris, 1976).

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

Licence

Exports