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E02390: Gregory of Tours, in his Histories (10.31), recounts how Eustochius, the fifth Bishop of Tours (bishop 443-460), built a church in Tours and deposited there relics of *Gervasius and Protasius (martyrs of Milan, S00313). These relics were brought from Italy by *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. AD 397, S00050), as Paulinus of Nola (353-431) recounted in one of his letters. Eustochius was buried in the church of Martin built by Bricius, his predecessor. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 591/594.

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posted on 18.02.2017, 00:00 by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Histories (Historiae) 10.31

Eustochius aedificavit etiam ecclesiam infra muros civitatis, in qua reliquias sanctorum Gervasi et Protasi martyris condidit, quae sancto Martino de Italia sunt delatae, sicut sanctus Paulinus in epistola sua meminit. Sedit autem annos XVII et sepultus est in basilica, quam Brictius episcopus super sanctum Martinum struxerat.

'Eustochius [the fifth Bishop of Tours] also built a church inside the city of Tours, and there he deposited relics of the martyrs Saints Gervasius and Saint Protasius. It was Saint Martin who brought these relics from Italy, as Saint Paulinus [of Nola] tells us in one of his letters. Eustochius held the see for seventeen years. He was buried in the church which Bishop Bricius had built over Saint Martin.'

Text: Krusch and Levison 1951, 529. Translation: Thorpe 1974, 595, lightly modified.

History

Evidence ID

E02390

Saint Name

Gervasius and Protasius, martyrs of Milan (Italy), ob. 1st/4th c. : S00313 Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours (Gaul), ob. 397 : S00050

Saint Name in Source

Gervasius, Protasius Martinus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

575

Evidence not after

594

Activity not before

443

Activity not after

460

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

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - unspecified Transfer/presence of relics from distant countries

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 letter of Paulinus of Nola, which Gregory of Tours mentioned in this chapter, is unidentified. The church of Gervasius and Protasius was constructed and dedicated by Eustochius, the fifth bishop of Tours, between AD 443 and 460. The building touched the city wall (muro coniuncta). It was restored by Ommatius, the twelfth bishop of Tours, between 552 and 526 (Histories 10.31, see E02403). In 558, after fire destroyed the city of Tours, the church was restored by Eufronius, the eighteen bishop (Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 308-309; Pietri 1987, 29).

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. Pietri, L., "Tours," in: N. Gauthier and J.-Ch. Picard (eds.), Topographie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule des origines au milieu du VIIIe siècle, vol. 5: Province ecclésiastique de Tours (Lugdunensis Tertia) (Paris, 1987), 19-39. Vieillard-Troiekouroff, M., Les monuments religieux de la Gaule d'après les œuvres de Grégoire de Tours (Paris, 1976).

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