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E05417: Venantius Fortunatus, in his Miracles of Hilary, recounts how Clovis, king of the Franks, prayed to *Hilary (bishop of Poitiers, ob. 367, S00183) after he saw a fiery beacon coming from the saint's church in Poitiers, and then won his battle against the Arians; all in 507. Written in Latin in Poitiers (western Gaul), 567/568.

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posted on 13.05.2018, 00:00 by kwojtalik
Venantius Fortunatus, Miracles of Hilary (Libri de virtutibus sancti Hilarii) 7 (20-23)

Summary:

After Clovis had collected troops in order to fight the Arians, in the middle of the night he saw a light coming over him from the church of Hilary in Poitiers. He was advised first to pray at this shrine and then attack the enemy. Clovis followed this advice, prayed to Hilary and then won the battle.

Text: Krusch 1885, 9. Summary: Katarzyna Wojtalik.

History

Evidence ID

E05417

Saint Name

Hilarius/Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, ob. 367 : S00183

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

567

Evidence not after

568

Activity not before

507

Activity not after

507

Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Poitiers

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

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Venantius Fortunatus

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Miraculous interventions in war Miraculous sound, smell, light

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family Heretics

Source

Venantius Fortunatus was born in northern Italy, near Treviso, and educated in Ravenna. In the early 560s he crossed the Alps into Merovingian Gaul, where he spent the rest of his life, making his living primarily through writing Latin poetry for the aristocracy of northern Gaul, both secular and ecclesiastical. His first datable commission in Gaul is a poem to celebrate the wedding in 566 of the Austrasian royal couple, Sigibert and Brunhild. His principal patrons were Radegund and Agnes, the royal founder and the first abbess of the monastery of the Holy Cross at Poitiers, Gregory, the historian and bishop of Tours, Leontius, bishop of Bordeaux, and Felix, bishop of Nantes, but he also wrote poems for several kings and for many other members of the aristocracy. In addition to occasional poems for his patrons, Fortunatus wrote a four-book epic poem about Martin of Tours, and several works of prose and verse hagiography. The latter part of his life was spent in Poitiers, and, probably in the 590s, he became bishop of the city; he is presumed to have died early in the 7th century. Fortunatus' Miracles of Hilary (Liber de virtutibus sancti Hilarii) consists of thirteen very short chapters describing only nine miracles. The work is a complement to his Life of Hilary (see E06713). Both the Miracles and the Life are dedicated to Pascentius, bishop of Poitiers, which enables us to date their composition with some precision to 567/568, since Fortunatus almost certainly arrived in Poitiers in 567, while Pascentius died, and was succeeded as bishop by Meroveus, in 568. Gregory of Tours used the Life and Miracles, in Glory of the Confessors 2 (see E02452) and Histories 2.37 (see E02032).

Discussion

The story of the miraculous light that appeared over Clovis from the church of Hilary, on his way to defeat the Visigoths at the battle of Vouillé in 507, was also recounted by Gregory of Tours in his Histories 2.37 (see E02032).

Bibliography

Edition: Krusch, B., Venanti Honori Clementiani Fortunati presbyteri Italici Opera pedestria (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auctores Antiquissimi 4.2; Berolini: Apud Weidmannos, 1885). Translation: Van Dam, R., Saints and Their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).

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