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E07697: The Frankish king Childebert II, writing to bishop Laurentius of Milan, compares him to *Laurence (deacon and martyr of Rome, S00037). Austrasian Letter 46, written in Latin in Gaul in 585/9.

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posted on 16.07.2019, 00:00 by dlambert
Childebert II, letter to Laurentius, bishop of Milan (Epistolae Austrasicae 46)

INCIPIT AD PATRIARCAM LAURENTIO DE DOMNI NOMEN
Beatae opinionis ubique cursum meritis extendentes, certantes beatum martyrem aequiperare sicut nomine, sic mercede, ut per vos tutus [= totus] hic ille redeat, cuius adepti estis vocabulo, qui sacrosanctae ecclesiae sic dispersit nomismata, ut census effusione per pauperes augmentaret talenta, ad nos usque bonum tanti operis devulgante, gratias referimus supernae clementiae, quae vobis illud contulit, quod multis hic est in munere et vobis singulariter futurae gloriae tempore proficiat ad mercedem. ...

'BEGINNING [OF THE LETTER] TO PATRIARCH LAURENTIUS IN THE NAME OF THE LORD
Extending everywhere by your merits the advance of your blessed reputation, competing to equal the blessed martyr in reward as much as in name, as if, through you, he whose name you have inherited has completely returned, he who disposed of the wealth of the holy church in such a way that he increased the value of its property by spreading it among the poor, informing even us about the good of such a great work, we give thanks to heavenly mercy, which has granted to you what is a gift to many in this world, and may benefit you particularly as a reward in the time of future glory. ...'


Text: Gundlach 1892. Translation: David Lambert.

History

Evidence ID

E07697

Saint Name

Laurence/Laurentius, deacon and martyr of Rome : S00037

Saint Name in Source

Laurentius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

585

Evidence not after

589

Activity not before

585

Activity not after

589

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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of an individual

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family

Source

This letter from Childebert II to Laurentius, bishop of MIlan (PCBE 2, 'Laurentius 52'), is datable by its references to contemporary events and people to the period from about 585 to 589. The letter is preserved in the letter collection from early Frankish Gaul known as the Epistolae Austrasicae (Austrasian Letters).

Discussion

This passage forms the opening of a letter from the Frankish king Childebert II to the bishop of Milan, Laurentius: it praises Laurentius by comparing him to the 3rd century Roman deacon and martyr Laurentius/Laurence (S00037). The passage alludes to the incident in Laurence's Martyrdoms (E02504, E02514) in which Laurence is asked by Pope Sixtus to stop the property of the church being seized by the emperor, which he does by selling it and giving the money to the poor. After this beginning, the letter turns firmly towards the mundane, as Childebert moves onto its actual purpose, which is to ask Laurentius to act as an intermediary in negotiations with the Byzantine authorities in Italy about a planned military campaign against the Lombards. The effusive opening was no doubt intended to gain his good will for this.

Bibliography

Editions: Gundlach, W., Epistolae Austrasicae, in: Epistolae Merowingici et Karolini Aevi (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Epistolae 3; Berlin, 1892), 151. Malaspina, E., Il "Liber epistolarum" della cancellaria austrasica (sec. V-VI) (Biblioteca di cultura romanobarbarica 4; Rome, 2001), 212-215, with Italian translation and commentary.

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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