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E05931: The Chronicle of Fredegar describes how in the year 583/4 King Guntram built a church near Chalon-sur-Saône (eastern Gaul), dedicated to *Marcellus (martyr of Chalon-sur-Saône, S00323), and held a council to confirm the foundation, modelled on that held by King Sigismund of the Burgundians in 515 to confirm his foundation of the monastery at Agaune (eastern Gaul) dedicated to the martyrs of the *Theban Legion (S00339). Later, Guntram is buried there. Written in Latin in Gaul/Francia, 659/700.

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posted on 09.07.2018, 00:00 by dlambert
Chronicle of Fredegar 4.1

Anno xxiiii regni sui deuino amore eclesiam beati Marcelli, ubi ipsi praeciosus requiescit in corpore, suborbanum Cabilonninsim, sed quidem tamen Sequanum est territurium, merefice et sollerter aedificare iussit, ibique monachis congregatis, monasterium condedit ipsamque ecclesiam rebus pluremis ditauit. Senodum xl episcoporum fieri precepit et ad instar institucionis monasterii sanctorum Agauninsium, que temporibus Sigysmundi regis ab Auito et citeris episcopis, ipso iobente princepi fuerat firmatum, idemque et huius senodi coniunctionem monasterium sancti Marcelli Gunthramnus institucionem firmandam curauit.

'In the twenty-fourth year of his reign [584], his love of God caused him to have built outside Chalon (though in fact on Sequanian territory) the sumptuous church of St Marcellus, where the saint's precious body now rests. There too he brought together monks and founded a monastery and endowed its church with many possessions. He ordered the convening of a synod of forty bishops and made it confirm the foundation of this house of St Marcellus on the precedent of the confirming by Avitus and other bishops of the foundation of the house dedicated to the saints of Agaune, made in the days of King Sigismund and upon his orders.'

Chronicle of Fredegar 4.14

Anno xxxiii regni Gunthramni. Eo anno, quinto kalendas Aprilis ipse rex moritur. Sepultus est in ecclesia sancti Marcelli in monasterio quem ipse construxerat.

'The thirty-third year of Guntram's reign [593]. on 28 March of this year the king died. He was buried in the church of St Marcellus in the monastery that he had himself built.'

Text and translation: Wallace-Hadrill 1960 (translation adapted).


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Marcellus, martyr of Chalon-sur-Saône (Gaul) : S00323 Theban Legion, commanded by *Maurice, martyrs of Agaunum Gaul : S00339

Saint Name in Source

Marcellus sancti Agauninses

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

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

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

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Meetings and gatherings of the clergy

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family


The work known as the Chronicle of Fredegar dates from the second half of the 7th century. There is a long history of controversy over the questions of how many authors were involved in its compilation and precisely when they worked, but the current consensus is that it was produced by a single author working in one of the Frankish kingdoms at some point after 659 (Collins 1996, 83, 91-96). While the first three books of the chronicle largely reproduce earlier sources, Book 4 is an original composition, covering events from 584 to 642.


Fredegar states that Guntram built the church of Marcellus at Chalon-sur-Saône in the 24th year of his reign, equivalent to AD 583/4. However, this must actually have been a rebuilding, since the evidence of Gregory of Tours shows that a church already existed there (see E02178). For full discussion, see Beaujard 1986, 71-2, and Viellard-Troiekouroff 1976, 264-5. The church is mentioned several times by Gregory of Tours: see e.g. E02178, E02329, E02359, E02372. The burial of King Guntram in the church was later celebrated as a feast day, recorded in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum (E04752). Fredegar may have become familiar with the role of Avitus of Vienne in the foundation of the monastery at Agaune from the homily Avitus preached on that occasion (E07115). The perpetual chant established at Agaune was one of the best known aspects of the monastery, mentioned in several sources (for another reference by Fredegar, see E05939; by Avitus of Vienne, see E07115; by Gregory of Tours, E07789), though little is known about it in detail.


Edition and translation: Wallace-Hadrill, J.M., The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar (London, 1960). Further reading: Beaujard, B., "Chalon-sur-Saône," in: N. Gauthier and J.-Ch. Picard (eds.), Topographie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule, vol. 4: Province ecclésiastique de Lyon (Lugdunensis Prima) (Paris, 1986), 65-74. Collins, R., "Fredegar," in: P.J. Geary (ed.), Authors of the Middle Ages: Historical and Religious Writers of the Latin West, vol. 4, nos. 12-13 (Aldershot, 1996), 73-138. Vieillard-Troiekouroff, M., Les monuments religieux de la Gaule d'après les œuvres de Grégoire de Tours (Paris, 1976).

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