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E05935: The Chronicle of Fredegar describes the martyrdom of *Desiderius (bishop of Vienne, ob. 607, S01171), and claims that miracles took place at his tomb. Written in Latin in Gaul/Francia, 659/700.

online resource
posted on 10.07.2018, 00:00 by dlambert
Chronicle of Fredegar 4.32

Eo anno Teudericus consilio Aridio episcopo Lugduninse perfedum utens et per suasum auae suae Brunechilde, sanctum Desiderium de exilium egressum lapidare praecipit. Ad cuius sepulcrum mirae uirtutes a diae transitus sui Dominus integra adsiduaetate ostendere dignatur; per quod credendum est pro hoc malum gestum regnum Theuderici et filiis suis fuisse distructum.

'In this year [607] the blessed Desiderius returned from banishment. Theuderic followed the wicked advice of Bishop Aridius of Lyons and of his grandmother Brunechildis and ordered him to be stoned to death; and the Lord was pleased to show splendid miracles at his tomb from the day of his death, which makes it credible that this evil deed cost Theuderic and his sons their kingdom.'

Text and translation: Wallace-Hadrill 1960.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Desiderius, bishop of Vienne (Gaul), marytred in 607 AD. : S01171

Saint Name in Source


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

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Punishing miracle Unspecified miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops 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.


Desiderius (PCBE 4, 'Desiderius 13') became bishop of Vienne at some point between 586 and 596. His killing in 607 was an event of great notoriety, leading most notably to the composition of a Life of Desiderius by the Visigothic king of Spain, Sisebut (E02139). It was widely used to discredit the regime of Theuderic II and Brunhild after their downfall. Fredegar is the only source to name Bishop Aridius of Lyon as complicit in Desiderius' killing.


Edition and translation: Wallace-Hadrill, J.M., The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar (London, 1960). Further reading: 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.

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