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E07846: Venantius Fortunatus, in a poem addressed to the citizens of Tours in praise of Gregory (bishop of Tours 573-594), describes Gregory as a foster-son of *Julian (martyr of Brioude, S00035), sent by Julian to *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050). Poem 5.3, written in Latin in Gaul, 573/574.

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posted on 22.01.2020, 00:00 by dlambert
Venantius Fortunatus, Poems 5.3 (Ad cives Turonicos de Gregorio episcopo, 'To the citizens of Tours, on bishop Gregory'), 11-12

Martino proprium mittit Iulianus alumnum                      11
   et fratri praebet quod sibi dulce fuit.

'Julian is sending his own foster-son to Martin, and offering to a brother what was dear to himself.'

Text: Leo 1881, 106. Translation: Roberts 2017, 295.

History

Evidence ID

E07846

Saint Name

Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397 : S00050 Julian, martyr of Brioude : S00035

Saint Name in Source

Martinus Iulianus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

573

Evidence not after

574

Activity not before

573

Activity not after

574

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Venantius Fortunatus

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of an individual

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Source

Venantius Fortunatus was born in northern Italy, near Treviso, and educated at 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, as well as 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 in the 590s he became bishop of the city; he is presumed to have died early in the 7th century. For Fortunatus' life, see Brennan 1985; George 1992, 18-34; Reydellet 1994-2004, vol. 1, vii-xxviii; PCBE 4, 'Fortunatus', 801-822. The eleven books of Poems (Carmina) by Fortunatus were almost certainly collected and published at three different times: Books 1 to 7, which are dedicated to Gregory of Tours, in 576; Books 8 and 9 after 584, probably in 590/591; and Books 10-11 only after their author's death. A further group of poems, outside the structure of the books, and known from only one manuscript, has been published in modern editions as an Appendix to the eleven books. For further discussion, see Reydellet 1994-2004, vol. 1, lxviii-lxxi; George 1992, 208-211. Almost all of Fortunatus' poems are in elegiac couplets: one hexameter line followed by one pentameter line. For the cult of saints, Fortunatus' poems are primarily interesting for the evidence they provide of the saints venerated in northern Gaul, since many were written to celebrate the completion of new churches and oratories, and some to celebrate collections of relics. For an overview of his treatment of the cult of saints, see Roberts 2009, 165-243.

Discussion

This poem can be dated to shortly after Gregory became bishop of Tours in 573. Julian of Brioude (Gregory's personal patron saint, from his homeland in the Auvergne) here commends Gregory to the care of Martin, Gregory's new patron, now that he has become bishop of Tours, and thereby Martin's successor. For a general discussion of the poem, see George 1992, 74-77 (and 124-131 for a wider discussion of Fortunatus' poems to Gregory); Roberts 2009, 106-122; Roberts 2009, 269-283; Roberts 2015.

Bibliography

Editions and translations: Leo, F., Venanti Honori Clementiani Fortunati presbyteri Italici opera poetica (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auctores Antiquissimi 4.1; Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1881). Roberts, M., Poems: Venantius Fortunatus (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 46; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017). George, J., Venantius Fortunatus, Personal and Political Poems (Translated Texts for Historians 23; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1995). Reydellet, M., Venance Fortunat, Poèmes, 3 vols. (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1994-2004). Further reading: Brennan, B., "The Career of Venantius Fortunatus," Traditio 41 (1985), 49-78. George, J., Venantius Fortunatus: A Latin Poet in Merovingian Gaul (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992). Roberts, M., The Humblest Sparrow: The Poetry of Venantius Fortunatus (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009). Roberts, M., "Venantius Fortunatus and Gregory of Tours: Poetry and Patronage," in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2015), 35-59.

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