Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks


  1. Queen Clotilda's death
  2. King Clothar attempts to take a third of the revenues of the church
  3. His wives and children
  4. The counts of the Bretons
  5. The holy bishop Gallus
  6. The priest Cato
  7. The episcopate of Cautinus
  8. The kings of the Spaniards
  9. Theodovald's death
  10. Rebellion of the Saxons
  11. The people of Tours at the bidding of the king invite Cato to be their bishop
  12. The priest Anastasius
  13. Chramnus's frivolity and wickedness and about Cautinus and Firmin
  14. Clothar makes a second expedition against the Saxons
  15. Episcopate of the holy Eufronius
  16. Chramnus and his followers and the crimes he committed and how he went to Dijon
  17. How Chramnus deserted to Childebert
  18. Duke Austrapius
  19. Death of the holy bishop Medard
  20. Death of Childebert and killing of Chrmanus
  21. King Clothar's death
  22. Division of the kingdom among his sons
  23. Sigibert marches against the Huns and Chilperic seizes his cities
  24. The patrician Celsus
  25. Gunthram's wives
  26. Charibert's wives
  27. Sigibert marries Brunhilda
  28. Chilperic's wives
  29. Sigibert's second war with the Huns
  30. The people of Auvergne at King Sigibert's bidding go to take Arles
  31. About the town of Tauredunum and other marvels
  32. The monk Julian
  33. The abbot Sunniulf
  34. The monk of Bordeaux
  35. The episcopate of Avitus in Auvergne
  36. The holy Nicetius of Lyons
  37. The holy reclus Fiard
  38. The Spanish kings
  39. Death of Palladius at Clermont
  40. Emperor Justinus
  41. Albin and the Lombards settle in Italy
  42. Wars between them and Mummulus
  43. The archdeacon of Marseilles
  44. The Lombards and Mummulus
  45. Mummulus goes to Tours
  46. The killing of Andarchius
  47. Theodobert takes possession of the cities
  48. The monastery of Latta
  49. Sigibert goes to Paris
  50. Chilperic enters into a treaty with Gunthram; death of Theodobert his son
  51. Death of king Sigibert


   [1. Queen Clotilda dies at Tours and is buried at Paris.]
   2. King Clothar had ordered all the churches of his kingdom to pay into his treasury a third of their revenues. But when all the other bishops, though grudgingly, had agreed to this and signed their names, the blessed Injuriosus scorned the command and manfully refused to sign, saying, "If you attempt to take the things of God, the Lord will take away your kingdom speedily because it is wrong for your storehouses to be filled with the contributions of the poor whom you yourself ought to feed." He was irritated with the king and left his presence without saying farewell. Then the king was alarmed and being afraid of the power of the blessed Martin he sent after him with the gifts, praying for pardon and admitting the wrongfulness of what he had done, and asking also that the bishop avert from him by prayer the power of the blessed Martin.
    3. The king had seven sons by several wives; namely, by Ingunda, Gunthar, Childeric, Charibert, Gunthram, Sigibert, and a daughter Chlotsinda; by Aregunda, sister of Ingunda, Chilperic; and by Chunsina he had Chramnus. I will tell you why it was he married his wife's sister. When he was already married to her alone, he received a hint from her saying: "My Lord has done with his handmaid what he pleased and has taken me to his couch. Now let my lord the king hear what his servant would suggest to make his favor complete. I beg that you consent to find a husband for my sister, a man who will be of advantage to your servant and possess wealth, so that I shall not be humiliated but rather exalted and shall be able to serve you more faithfully. To this request he gave heed and being of a wanton nature he fell in love with Aregunda and went to the estate on which she was living and married her himself. Having do this he returned to Ingunda and said: "I have tried to do the favor which your sweet self asked of me. I sought for a man of riches a wisdom to unite to your sister but I found no one better than myself. And so allow me to tell you that I have married her, which I think will not displease you." And she replied; "Let my Lord do what seems good in his eyes; only let his handmaid live i favor with the king."
   Now Gunthar, Chramnus and Childeric died in their father's lifetime. Of the death of Chramnus I shall write later. And Albin, king of the Lombards, married Chlotsinda, his daughter Injuriosus, bishop of Tours, died in the seventeenth year of his episcopate and Baudinus, a former official of king Clothar, succeeded him, the sixteenth after the death of the blessed Martin.
   4. Chanao, count of the Bretons, killed three of his brothers. He wished to kill Macliavus also, and seized him and kept him in prison loaded with chains. But he was freed from death by Felix, bishop of Nantes. After this he swore he would be faithful to his brother, but from some reason or other he became inclined to break his oath. Chanao was aware of this and began to attack him again and when Macliavus saw that he could not escape, he fled to another count of that district, Chonomor by name. When Chonomor learned that Macliavus' pursuers were near at hand, he hid him in a box underground and heaped a mound over it in the regular way leaving a small airhole so that he could breathe And when his pursuers came, they said: "Behold here lies Macliavus dead and buried." On hearing this they were glad and drank on his tomb and reported to his brother that he was dead. And his brother took the whole of his kingdom. For since Clovis's death the Bretons have always been under the dominion of the Franks and [their rulers have been called counts, not kings Macliavus rose from underground and went to the city of Vannes and there received the tonsure and was ordained bishop. But when Chanao died he left the priesthood, let his hair grow long, and took back not only his brother's kingdom but also the wife whom he had abandoned when he became a priest. However he was excommunicated by the bishops. What his end was I shall describe later. Now bishop Baudinus died in the sixth year of his episcopate, and the abbot Gunthar was appointed in his place, the seventeenth after the passing of the blessed Martin.
   [5. How St. Gall, bishop of Clermont, averted the plague from his people.]
   And when Saint Gall had departed from this world and his body had been washed and carried to the church, Cato the priest immediately received the congratulations of the clergy on becoming bishop. And as if he were already bishop he took under his control all the church property, removed the superintendents and cast the lesser officials out and regulated everything himself.
   6. The bishops who came to St. Gall's funeral said to Cato the priest after the funeral: "We see that you are the choice of by far the largest part of the people; come then, join us, and we will bless and ordain you as bishop. The king is very young and if any fault is found with you, we will take you under our protection and deal with the leading men of Theodovald's kingdom so that no wrong shall be done you. Trust us faithfully, since we promise that even if some loss shall come to you, we will make it all good from our own properties." But he was puffed up with the pride of vainglory and said: "You know from widespread report that from the beginning of my life I have always lived religiously, that I have fasted, delighted in almsgiving, often kept watch without ceasing and have frequently continued the singing of psalms without a break the whole night through. The Lord God to whom I have paid such service will not allow me to be deprived of this office. For I attained all the grades of the clergy as directed in the canons. I was reader ten years, I performed the duties of sub­deacon five years, I have been priest now for twenty years. What more is left or me except to receive the office of bishop which my faithful service deserves. You then return to your cities and busy yourselves with whatever tends to your advantage. For I intend to gain this office in the manner prescribed by the canons." The bishops heard this and departed cursing his empty boasting.
   7. He was accordingly designated to be bishop by the choice of the clergy, and when he had taken charge of everything though he was not yet ordained, he began to make various threats against the archdeacon Cautinus, saying: "I will cast you out, I will degrade you, I will cause many sorts of violent death to threaten you." And he answered: "I wish to have your favor, pious master and if I win it, there is one kindness I can do. Without any trouble on your part and without any deceit I will go to the king and obtain the office of bishop for you, asking no reward except to win your favor. But the other was suspicious that he meant to make a mock of him and rejected the offer with great disdain. And when Cautinus perceived that he was in disgrace and was the object of ill report he pretended sickness, and left the city by night going to king Theodovald and reporting the death of Saint Gall. And when he and his court were informed of it they assembled the bishops at the city of Metz, and Cautinus the archdeacon was ordained bishop. And on the arrival of the messengers of the priest Cato he was already bishop. Then by the king's order these clerks were delivered over to him and all that they had brought from the property of the church, and bishops and officials of the treasury were appointed to accompany him, and they sent him on his way to Clermont. And he was gladly received by the clergy and citizens and was thus made bishop of Clermont But later enmity arose between him and Cato the priest because no one was ever able to influence Cato to submit to his bishop. A division of the clergy appeared and some followed the bishop Cautinus and others the priest Cato. This was a great drawback to them. And Cautinus saw that Cato could not be forced in any way to submit to him and took all church property from him and his friends and whoever took his part, and left them weak and empty. But whoever of them returned to him, again received what he had lost.
   [8. King Agila of Spain loses cities to the emperor which his successor Athanagild recovers.]
   9. When Theodovald had grown up he married Vuldetrada. This Theodovald, they say, had a bad disposition so that when he was angry with anyone whom he suspected of taking his property he would make up a fable, saying: "A snake found a jar full of wine. He went in by its neck and greedily drained what was inside. But being puffed out by the wine he could not go out by the opening by which he had entered. And the owner of the wine came, and when the snake tried to get out but could not, he said to him: 'First vomit out what you have swallowed and then you will be able to go free.'" This fable made him greatly feared and hated. Under him Buccelenus after bringing all Italy under the rule of the Franks was slain by Narses, and Italy was taken by the emperor's party and there was no one to recover it later. In his time we saw grapes grow on the tree we call saucum [elder­tree] without having any vine on it, and the blossoms of the same trees, which as you know usually produce black reeds, yielded the seeds of grapes. At that time a star coming from the opposite direction was seen to enter the disk of the fifth moon. I suppose these signs announced the death of the king. He became very sick and could not move from the waist down. He gradually grew worse and died in the seventh year of his reign, and king Clothar took his kingdom, taking Vuldetrada his wife to his bed. But being rebuked by the bishops he left her, giving her to duke Garivald and sending his son Chramnus to Clermont.
   [10. King Clothar destroys the greater part of the rebellious Saxons and lays Thuringia waste.]
   11. Bishop Gunthar died at Tours, and at a suggestion, it is said, of bishop Cautinus the priest Cato was requested to undertake the government of the church at Tours. And the clergy accompanied by Leubastes, keeper of the relics and abbot, went in great state to Clermont. And when they had declared the king's will to Cato he would not answer them for a few days. But they wished to return and said: "Declare your will to us so that we may know what we ought to do; otherwise we will return home. For it was not of our own will that we came to you but at the command of the king." And Cato in his greed for vainglory got together a crowd of poor men and instructed them to shout as follows: "Good father, why do you abandon us your children, whom you taught until now? Who will strengthen us with food and drink if you go away? We beg you not to leave us whom you are wont to support." Then he turned to the clergy of Tours and said: "You see now, beloved brothers, how this multitude of the poor loves me; I cannot leave them to go with you." They received this answer and returned to Tours. Now Cato had made friends with Chramnus and got a promise from him that if king Clothar should die at that time, Cautinus was to be cast out at once from the bishop's office and Cato was to be given control of the church. But he who despised the chair of the blessed Martin did not get what he desired, and in this was fulfilled that which David sang, saying: "He refused the blessing and it shall be kept far from him." He was puffed up f with vanity thinking that no­one was superior to him in holiness. Once he hired a woman to cry aloud in the church as if possessed and say that he was holy and great and beloved y God, but Cautinus the bishop was guilty of every crime and unworthy to hold the office of bishop.
   12. Now Cautinus on taking up the duties of bishop became greatly addicted to wine, and proved to be of such a character that he was loathed by all. He was often so befuddled by drink that four men could hardly take him away after dinner. Because of this habit he became an epileptic later on a disease which frequently showed itself in public. He was also so avaricious that if he could not get some part of the possessions of those whose boundaries touched him he thought it was ruin for him. He took from the stronger with quarrels and abuse, and violently plundered the weaker. And as our Sollius [1] says, he would not pay the price because he despised doing so, and would not accept deeds because he thought them useless.
   There was at that time a priest Anastasius, of free birth, who held some property secured by deeds of queen Clotilda of glorious memory. Usually when he met him the bishop would entreat him to give him the deeds of the queen mentioned above, and place the property under his charge. And when Anastasius postponed complying with the will of his bishop, the latter would try now to coax him with kind words and now to terrify him with threats. When he continued unwilling to the end, he ordered him to be brought to the city and there shamelessly detained, and unless he surrendered the deeds, he was to be loaded with insults and starved to death. But the other made a spirited resistance and never surrendered the deeds, saying it was better for him to waste away with hunger for a time than to leave his children in misery. Then by the bishop's command he was given over to the guards with instructions to starve him to death if he did not surrender these documents. Now there was in the church of St. Cassius the martyr a very old and remote crypt, in which was a great tomb of Parian marble wherein it seems the body of a certain man of long ago had been placed. In this tomb upon the dead body the living priest was placed and the tomb was covered with the stone with which had been covered before, and guards were placed at the entrance. But the faithful guards seeing that he was shut in by a stone as it was winter lit a fire and under the influence of hot wine fell asleep. But the priest like a new Jonah prayed insistently to the Lord to pity him from the interior of the tomb as from the belly of hell, and the tomb being large, as we have said, he was able to extend his hands freely wherever he wished although he could not turn his whole body. There came from the bones of the dead, as he used to relate, a killing stench, which made him shudder not only outwardly but in his inward parts as well. While he held his robe tightly against his nose and could hold his breath his feelings were not the worst, but when he thought that he was suffocating and held the robe a little away from his face he drank in the deadly smell not merely through mouth and nose but even, so to speak, through his very ears. Why make so long a story! When he had suffered, as I suppose, like the Divine Nature, he stretched out his right hand to the side of the sarcophagus and found a crowbar which had been left between the cover and the edge of the tomb when the cover sank into place. Moving this by degrees he found that with God's help the stone could be moved, and when it had been moved so far that the priest could get his head out he made a larger opening with greater ease and so came out bodily. Meanwhile the darkness of night was overspreading the day though it had not spread everywhere as yet. So he hastened to another entrance to the crypt. This was closed with the strongest bars and bolts, but was not so smoothly fitted that a man could not see between the planks. The priest placed his head close to this entrance and saw a man go by. He called to him in a low voice. The other heard, and having an ax in his hand he at once cut the wooden pieces by which the bars were held and opened the way for the priest. And he went off in the darkness and hastened home after vigorously urging the man to say nothing of the matter to any one. He entered his home and finding the deeds which the queen mentioned before had given him took them to king Clothar, informing him at the same time how he had been committed to a living burial by his own bishop. All were amazed and said that never had Nero or Herod done such a deed as to place a live man in the grave Then bishop Cautinus appeared before king Clothar but upon the priest's accusation he retreated in defeat and confusion. The priest according to directions received from the king maintained his property as he pleased and kept possession of it and left it to his children. In Cautinus there was no holiness, no quality to be esteemed. He was absolutely without knowledge of letters both ecclesiastical and secular. He was a great friend of the Jews and subservient to them, not for their salvation, as ought to be the anxious care of a shepherd, but in order to purchase their wares which they sold to him at a higher price than they were worth, since he tried to please them and they very plainly flattered him.
   13. At this time Chramnus lived at Clermont. He did many things contrary to reason and for this his departure from the world was hastened; and he was bitterly reviled by the people. He made friends with no one from whom he could get good and useful counsel, but he gathered together young men of low character and no stability and made friends of them only, listening to their advice and at their suggestion he even directed them to carry off daughters of senators by force. He offered serious insults to Firmin and drove him out of his office as count of the city, and placed Salust son of Euvodius in his place. Firmin with his mother­in­law took refuge in the church. It was Lent and bishop Cautinus had made preparations to go in procession singing psalms to the parish of Brioude, according to the custom established by St. Gall as we described above. And so the bishop went forth from the city with loud weeping, afraid that he would meet some danger on the way. For king Chramnus had been uttering threats against him. And while he was on the way the king sent Innachar and Scaphthar his chief adherents, saying: "Go and drag Firmin and Cæsaria his mother­in­law away from the church by force." So when the bishop had departed with psalm singing, as I have said before, the men sent by Chramnus entered the church and strove to calm the suspicions of Firmin and Cæsaria with many deceitful words. And when they had talked over one thing after another for a long time, walking to and fro in the church, and the fugitives had their attention fixed on what was being said, they drew near to the doors of the sacred temple which were then open. Then Innachar seized Firmin in his arms and Scaphthar Cæsaria, and cast them out from the church, where their slaves were ready to lay hold of them. And they sent them into exile at once. But on the second day their guards were overcome with sleep and they saw that they were free and hastened to the church of the blessed Julian, and so escaped from exile. However their property was confiscated. Now Cautinus had suspected that he himself would be subjected to outrage, and as he walked along on the journey I have told of, he kept near by a saddled horse, and looking back he saw men coming on horseback to overtake him and he cried: "Woe is me, for here are the men sent by Chramnus to seize me." And he mounted his horse and gave up his psalm singing and plying his steed with both heels arrived all alone and half-dead at the entrance of Saint Julian's church. As I tell this tale I am reminded of Sallust's saying which he uttered with reference to the critics of historians. He says: "It is difficult to write history; first because deeds must be exactly represented in words and second because most men think that the condemnation of wrong doing is due to ill will and envy." However, let us continue.
   14. Now when Clothar after Theodovald's death had received the kingdom of Francia and was making a progress through it, he heard from his people that the Saxons were engaged in a second mad outburst and were rebelling against him and contemptuously refusing to pay the tribute which they had been accustomed to pay every year. Aroused by the reports he hastened toward their country, and when he was near their boundary the Saxons sent legates to him saying: "We are not treating you contemptuously, and we do not refuse to pay what we have usually paid to your brothers and nephews, and we will grant even more if you ask for it. We ask for only one thing, that there be peace so that your army and our people shall not come into conflict." King Clothar heard this and said to his followers: "These men speak well. Let : us not go against them for fear that we sin against God." But .they said: "We know that they are deceitful and will not do at all what they have promised. Let us go against them." Again the Saxons offered half of their property in their desire for peace. And Clothar said to his men: "Give over, I beg you, from these men, lest the anger of God be kindled against us." But they would not agree to it. Again the Saxons brought garments, cattle and every kind of property, saying: "Take all this together with half of our land, only let our wives and little ones remain free and let war not arise between us." But the Franks were unwilling to agree even to this. And king Clothar said to them: "Give over, I beseech you, give over from this purpose; for we have not the right word; do not go to war in which we may be destroyed. If you decide to go of your own will I will not follow." Then they were enraged at king Clothar and rushed upon him and tore his tent in pieces and overwhelmed him with abuse and dragged him about violently and wished to kill him if he would not go with them. Upon this Clothar went with them though unwillingly. And they began the battle and were slaughtered in great numbers by their adversaries and so great a multitude from both armies perished that it was impossible to estimate or count them. Then Clothar in great confusion asked for peace, saying that it was not of his own will that he had come against them. And having obtained peace he returned home.
   15. The people of Tours heard that the king had returned from the battle with the Saxons and making choice of the priest Eufronius they hastened to him. When their suggestion had been made the king replied: "I had given directions for Cato the priest to be ordained there; why has my command been slighted?" They answered "We invited him but he refused to come." And while they were speaking Cato the priest suddenly appeared to request the king to expel Cautinus and command that he himself be appointed in Clermont. When the king laughed at him he made a second request, that he should be ordained at Tours which he had contemptuously refused before. And the king said to him: "I at first gave directions that they should ordain you bishop of Tours, but as I hear, you looked down on that church; therefore you shall be kept from becoming master of it." And so he went off in confusion. When the king asked about the holy Eufronius they told him that he was grandson of the blessed Gregory, whom I have mentioned before. The king answered: "It is a great and leading family Let the will of God and the blessed Martin be done; let the choice be confirmed." And according to his command the holy Eufronius was ordained bishop, the eighteenth after the blessed Martin.
   [16. Chramnus, king Clothar's son, opposes bishop Cautinus at Clermont. He goes to Poitiers and enters into an agreement with his uncle Childebert against Clothar. He assumes authority over part of Clothar's realm and Clothar sends two other sons, Charibert and Gunthram, against him. When they are ready to fight Chramnus causes a report of Clothar's death to be circulated and Charibert and Gunthram hasten off; Chramnus marches to Dijon where he consults the Bible as to his future. King Clothar u meanwhile fights the Saxons. 17. Chramnus joins Childebert in Paris. Childebert ravages Clothar's territory as far as Rheims. 18. Duke Austrapius takes refuge in St. Martin's church in fear of Chramnus. Chramnus orders him to be starved in the church. But he obtains drink miraculously and is saved. He later become a priest. 19. Medard bishop of Soissons dies.]
    20. King Childebert fell ill and after being bedridden for a long time died at Paris. He was buried in the church of the blessed Vincent which he had built. King Clothar took his kingdom and treasures and sent into exile Vulthrogotha and her two daughters. Chramnus presented himself before his father, but later he proved disloyal. And when he saw he could not escape punishment he fled to Brittany and there with his wife and daughters lived in concealment with Chonoober count of the Bretons. And Wilichar, his father­in­law, fled to the church of Saint Martin. Then because of Wilichar and his wife the holy church was burned for the sins of the people and the mockeries which occurred in it. This we relate not without a heavy sigh. Moreover the city of Tours had been burned the year before and all the churches built in it were deserted. Then by order of king Clothar the church of the blessed Martin was roofed with tin and restored in its former beauty. Then two hosts of locusts appeared which passed through Auvergne and Limousin and, they say, came to the plain of Romagnac where a battle took place between them and there was great destruction. Now king Clothar was raging against Chramnus and marched with army into Brittany against him. Nor was Chramnus afraid to come out against his father. And when both armies were gathered and encamped on the same plain and Chramnus with the Bretons had marshaled his line against his father, night fell and they refrained from fighting. During the night Chonoober, count of the Bretons, said to Chramnus: "I think it wrong for you to fight against your father; allow me tonight to rush upon him and destroy him with all his army." But Chramnus would not allow this to be done, being held back I think by the power of God. When morning came they set their armies in motion and hastened to the conflict. And king Clothar was marching like a new David to fight against Absalom his son crying aloud and saying: "Look down Lord, from heaven and judge my cause since I suffer wicked outrage from my son; look down, Lord, and judge justly, and give that judgment that thou once gavest between Absalom and his father." When they were fighting on equal terms the count of the Bretons fled and was slain. Then Chramnus started in flight, having ships in readiness at the shore; but in his wish to take his wife and daughters he was overwhelmed by his father's soldiers and was captured and bound fast. This news was taken to king Clothar and he gave orders to burn Chramnus with fire together with his wife and daughters. They were shut up in a hut belonging to a poor man and Chramnus was stretched on a bench and strangled with a towel; and later the hut was burned over them and he perished with his wife and daughters.
   21. In the fifty-first year of his reign king Clothar set out for the door of the blessed Martin with many gifts and coming to the tomb of the bishop just mentioned at Tours, and repeating all the deeds he had perhaps done heedlessly, and praying with loud groaning that the blessed confessor of God would obtain God's forgiveness for his faults and by his intercession blot out what he had done contrary to reason, he then returned, and in the fifty-first year of his reign, while hunting in the forest of Cuise, he was seized with a fever and returned thence to a villa in Compiègne. There he was painfully harassed by the fever and said: "Alas! What do you think the king of heaven is like when he kills such great kings in this way?" Laboring under this pain he breathed his last, and his four sons carried him with great honor to Soissons and buried him in the church of St. Medard. He died the next day in the revolving year after Chramnus had been slain.
   [22. The four sons of Clothar make "a lawful division" of his kingdom To Charibert is assigned Paris for his capital, to Gunthram, Orleans, to Chilperic, Soissons, to Sigibert, Rheims. 23. The Huns attack Sigibert and Chilperic takes the opportunity to seize some of his cities. Sigibert recovers them.]
   24. When king Gunthram had taken his part of the realm like his brothers, he removed the patrician Agricola and gave the office of patrician to Celsus, a man of tall stature, strong shoulders, strong arms and boastful words, ready in retort and skilled in the law. And then such a greed for possessing came upon him that he often took the property of the churches and made it his own. Once when he heard a passage from the prophet Isaiah being read in the church, which says: "Woe to those who join house to house and unite field to field even to the boundaries of the place," he is said to have exclaimed: "It is out of place to say; woe to me and my sons." But he left a son who died without children and left the greater part of his property to the churches which his father had plundered.
   25. The good king Gunthram first took a concubine Veneranda, a slave belonging to one of his people, by whom he had a son Gundobad. Later he married Marcatrude, daughter of Magnar, and sent his son Gundobad to Orleans. But after she had a son Marcatrude was jealous, and proceeded to bring about Gundobad's death. She sent poison, they say, and poisoned his drink. And upon his death, by God's judgment she lost the son she had and incurred the hate of the king, was dismissed by him, and died not long after. After her he took Austerchild, also named Bobilla. He had by her two sons, of whom the older was called Clothar and the younger Chlodomer.
   26. Moreover king Charibert married Ingoberga, by whom he had a daughter who afterwards married a husband in Kent and was taken there. At that time Ingoberga had in her service two daughters of a certain poor man, of whom the first was called Marcovefa, who wore the robe of a nun, and the other was Merofled. The king was very much in love with them. They were, as I have said, the daughters of a worker in wool. Ingoberga was jealous that they were loved by the king and secretly gave the father work to do, thinking that when the king saw this he would dislike his daughters. While he was working she called the king. He expected to see something strange, but only saw this man at a distance weaving the king's wool. Upon this he was angry and left Ingoberba and married Merofled. He also had another, a daughter of a shepherd, named Theodogild, by whom he is said to have had a son who when he came from the womb was carried at once to the grave. In this king's time Leontius gathered the bishops of his province at the city of Saintes and deposed Emeri from the bishopric, saying that this honor had not been given him in accordance with the canons. For he had had a decree of king Clothar that he should be ordained without the consent of the metropolitan who was not present. When he had been expelled from his office they made choice of Heraclius, then a priest of the church of Bordeaux, and they sent word of these doings in their own handwriting by the priest just named to king Charibert. He came to Tours and related to the blessed Eufronius what had been done, begging him to consent to subscribe to this choice. But the man of God flatly refused to do so. Now after the priest had come to the gates of the city of Paris and approached the king's presence he said: "Hail, glorious king. The apostolic see sends to your eminence the most abundant greetings." But the king replied: "You haven't been at Rome, have you, to bring us the greeting of the pope?" "It is your father Leontius" the priest went on, "who, together with the bishops of his province, sends you greeting and informs you that Cymulus--this was what they used to call Emeri as a child-has been expelled from the episcopate because he neglected the sacred authority of the canons and sought actively for the office of bishop in the city of Saintes. And so they have sent you their choice in order that his place may be filled, so that when men who violate the canons are condemned according to rule, the authority of your kingdom will be extended into distant ages." When he said this the king gnashed his teeth and ordered him to be dragged from his sight, and placed on a wagon covered with thorns and thrust off into exile, saying: "Do you think that there is no one left of the sons of king Clothar to uphold his father's acts, since these men have cast out without our consent the bisho whom he chose?" And he at once sent men of religion and restored the bishop to his place, sending also certain of his officers of the treasury who exacted from bishop Leontius 1000 gold pieces and fined the other bishops up to the limit of their power of payment And so the insult to the prince was avenged. After this he married Marcovefa, sister of Merofled. For which reason they were both excommunicated by the holy bishop Germanus. But since the king did not wish to leave her, she was struck by a judgment of God and died. Not long after the king himself died. And after his death, Theodogild, one of his queens, sent messengers to king Gunthram offering herself in marriage to him. To which the king sent back this answer: "Let her not be slow to come to me with her treasures. For I will take her and make her great among the people, so that she will surely have greater honor with me than with my brother who has just died." And she was glad and gathered all together and set out to him. And the king seeing this said: " It is better for these treasures to be in my control than in the hands of this woman who has unworthily gone to my brother's bed." Then he took away much and left little, and sent her to a convent at Arles. But she took it very hard to be subject to fasts and watches, and made proposals to a Goth by secret messengers, promising that if he would take her to Spain and marry her she would leave the monastery with her treasures and follow him willingly. This promise he made without hesitation, but when she had got her things together and packed and was ready to go from the convent, the diligence of the abbess frustrated her purpose, and the wicked project was detected and orders were given to beat t her severely and put her under guard. And she continued in confinement to the end of her life on earth, consumed with no slight passions.
   27. Now when king Sigibert saw that his brothers were taking wives unworthy of them, and to their disgrace were actually marrying slave women, he sent an embassy into Spain and with many gifts asked for Brunhilda, daughter of king Athanagild. She was a maiden beautiful in her person, lovely to look at, virtuous and well­behaved, with good sense and a pleasant address. Her father did not refuse, but sent her to the king I have named with great treasures. And the king collected his chief men, made ready a feast, and took her as his wife amid great joy and mirth. And though she was a follower of the Arian law she was converted by the preaching of the bishops and the admonition of the king him self, and she confessed the blessed Trinity in unity, and believed and was baptized. And she still remains catholic in Christ's name.
   28. When Chilperic saw this, although he had already too many wives, he asked for her sister Galsuenda, promising through his ambassadors that he would abandon the others if he could only obtain a wife worthy of himself and the daughter of a king. Her father accepted these promises and sent his daughter with much wealth, as he had done before. Now Galsuenda was older than Brunhilda. And coming to king Chilperic she was received with great honor, and united to him in marriage, and she was also greatly loved by him. For she had brought great treasures. But because of his love of Fredegunda whom he had had before, there arose a great scandal which divided them. Galsuenda had already been converted to the catholic law and baptized. And complaining to the king that she was continually enduring outrages and had no honor with him, she asked to leave the treasures which she had brought with her and be permitted to go free to her native land. But he made ingenious pretenses and calmed her with gentle words. At length he ordered her to be strangled by a slave and found her dead on the bed. After he death God caused a great miracle to appear. For the lighted lamp which hung by a rope in front of her tomb broke the rope without being touched by anyone and dashed on the pavement and the hard pavement yielded under it and it went down as if into some soft substance and was buried to the middle but not at all damaged. Which seemed a great miracle to all who saw it. But when the king had mourned her death a few days, he married Fredegunda again. After this action his brothers thought that the queen mentioned above had been killed at his command, and they tried to expel him from the kingdom. Chilperic at that time had three sons by his former wife Audovera, namely Theodobert, whom we have mentioned above, Merovech and Clovis. But let us return to our task.
   29. The Huns were again endeavoring to make an entrance into the Gauls. Sigibert marched against them with his army, leading a great number of brave men. And when they were about to fight, the Huns, who were versed in magic arts, caused false appearances of various sorts to come before them and defeated them decisively. Sigibert's army fled, but he himself was taken by the Huns and would have remained a prisoner if he had not overcome by his skill in making presents the men whom he could not conquer in battle. He was a man of fine appearance and good address He gave gifts and entered into an agreement with their king that all the days of their lives they should fight no battles with one another. And this incident is rightly believed to be more to his credit than otherwise. The king of the Huns also gave many gifts to king Sigibert. He was called Gaganus. All the kings of that people are called by this name.
   [30. King Sigibert attempts to take Arles from his brother Gunthram but fails.]
   31. Now a great prodigy appeared in the Gauls at the town of Tauredunum, situated on the river Rhone. After a sort of rumbling had continued for more than sixty days, the mountain was finally torn away and separated from another mountain near it, together with men, churches, property and houses, and fell into the river, and the banks of the river were blocked and the water flowed back. For that place was shut in on either side by mountains and the torrent flowed in a narrow way. It overflowed above and engulfed and destroyed all that was on the bank. Then the gathered water burst its way downstream and took men by surprise, as it had above, and caused a loss of life, overturned houses, destroyed beasts of burden, and overwhelmed with a sudden and violent flood all that was on the banks as far as the city of Geneva. It is told by many that the mass of water was so great that it went over the walls into the city mentioned. And there is no doubt of this tale because as we have said the Rhone flows in that region between mountains that hem it in closely, and being so closely shut in, it has no place to turn aside. It carried away the fragments of the mountain that had fallen and thus caused it to disappear wholly. And after this thirty monks came to the place where the town fell in ruins and began to dig in the ground which remained when the mountain had fallen, trying to find bronze and iron. And while engaged in this they heard a rumbling of the mountain like the former one. And while they were kept there by their greed the part of the mountain which had not yet fallen on them and covered and destroyed them and none of them was found. In like manner too before the plague at Clermont great prodigies terrified that region. For three or four great shining places frequently appeared about the sun and the rustics used to call them suns, saying: "Behold, three or four suns in the sky." Once on the first of October the sun was so darkened that not a quarter of it continued bright, but it looked hideous and discolored, about like a sack. Moreover a star which certain call a comet, with a ray like a sword, appeared over that country through a whole year, and the sky seemed to be on fire and many other signs were seen. In the church at Clermont while the morning watches were being observed at a certain festival, a bird of the kind we call lark entered, flapping its wings above the lights, and so swiftly extinguished them all that one would think they had been taken by the hand of a single man and plunged into water. The bird passed under the veil into the sanctuary and attempted to put out the light there but it was prevented from doing so by the doorkeepers and killed. In the church of the blessed Andrew another bird did the same with the lighted lamps. And presently the plague came, and such a carnage of the people took place through the whole district that the legions that fell could not be counted. For when sepulchers and gravestones failed, ten or more would be buried in a single trench. Three hundred dead bodies were counted one Sunday in the church of the blessed Peter alone. Death was sudden. A wound the shape of a serpent would appear on groin or armpit and the man would be so overcome by the poison as to die on the second or third day. Moreover the power of the poison rendered the victim insensible. At that time Cato the priest died. For when many had fled from the plague he never left the place, but remained courageously burying the people and celebrating mass. He was a priest of great kindliness and a warm friend of the poor. And if he had some pride, thus virtue I think counterbalanced it. But the bishop Cautinus, after running from place to place in fear of this plague, returned to the city, caught it and died on the day before Passion Sunday. At that very hour too, Tetradius his cousin died. At that time Lyons, Bourges, Cahors, and Dijon were seriously depopulated from this plague.
   [32. The remarkable virtue of the priest Julian. 33. The good abbot and the warning he received to be more severe with his monks]
   34. I will relate what happened at that time in a certain monastery, but I do not wish to give the name of the monk, who is still alive, for fear that when this account comes to him he may become vainglorious and lose merit. A young man came to the monastery and presented himself to the abbot with the proposal to pass his life in God's service. The abbot made many objections, explaining that the service there was hard, and he could never accomplish what was required of him. But he promised that he would call on the Lord's name and accomplish it all. And so he was admitted by the abbot. After a few days during which he proved to all that he was humble and holy, it happened that the monks threw out of the granary about three chori of grain and left it to dry in the sun and appointed this monk to guard it. And while the others were taking refreshment and he was left to guard the grain, the sky suddenly became overcast, and a heavy rain with roaring wind came swiftly in the direction of the heap of grain. Upon seeing it the monk knew not how to act or what to do. He thought however that even if he called the rest considering the great quantity of grain they would not be able to store it in the granary before the rain, and so giving up everything else he devoted himself to prayer, beseeching the Lord not to allow a drop of the rain to fall on the wheat. And when he threw himself on the ground and prayed the cloud was divided, and although there was a heavy downpour all around, if it is right to say so, it did not dampen a single grain of the wheat. And when the other monks and the abbot became aware of the coming storm they came quickly to take the grain within, and saw this miracle, and looking for the man in charge of the grain they found him close by stretched out on the sand praying. The abbot on seeing this prostrated himself close to him, and when the rain had passed and the prayer was finished he called to him to arise, and gave orders to seize him and punish him with stripes, saying: "My son, you must grow in the fear and service of God with humility, and not be puffed up with prodigies and miracles." He ordered him to remain shut up in his cell seven days, and to fast as if he were at fault, in order to keep vainglory from forming an obstacle before him. At the present time, as we learn from men of the faith, the same monk is so abstemious that he eats no bread in the forty days of Lent and drinks only a cup of barley-water every third day. And may the Lord with your prayers deign to keep him as is pleasing to himself until his life is ended.
   [35. The priest Eufrasius and the archdeacon Avitus are candidates for the bishopric of Auvergne. The former Gregory describes in these words: "He was indeed a man of refined manners, but his acts were not virtuous and he often made the barbarians drunk and rarely helped the needy." 36. Nicetius succeeds Sacerdos as bishop of Lyons. He is succeeded in turn by the wicked Priscus. 37. Death of the holy Friard. 38. Leuva and Leuvield, kings of Spain. The latter slew "all who had been accustomed to kill the kings." 39. Palladius and Parthenius, respectively count and bishop of Gévaudan, quarrel. Palladius accuses the bishop of unnatural crime; he is removed and Romanus becomes count.]
   39. ... It happened that one day Palladius and Romanus met in Clermont, and in their dispute about the office of count Palladius was told that he was going to be put to death by king Sigibert. However the story was false, and was ascertained to have been put in circulation principally by Romanus. Then Palladius was terrified and reduced to such despair that he threatened to kill himself with his own hand. And although he was carefully watched by his mother and his kinsmen, to prevent the deed which he had conceived in the bitterness of his heart, he escaped from his mother's sight for a short time and went into his chamber where he could be alone, unsheathed his sword, and putting his feet on the crosshilt of the sword he put its point at his breast and pushed on the sword from above, and it entered at one of his breasts and came out at the shoulder­blade, and raising himself up a second time he thrust himself in like manner in the other breast and fell dead. I regard this deed with astonishment since it could not have been done without the help of the devil. For the first wound would have killed him if the devil had not supported him so that he could accomplish his wicked purpose. His mother rushed in half dead with alarm, and fell in a faint on the body of the son she had lost, and the whole household uttered cries of lamentation. Nevertheless he was carried to the monastery of Cournon and buried there, but without being placed near the bodies of Christians or receiving the solemn service of the mass. And this evidently happened to him for nothing else than his insult to the bishop.
   [40. Justin, a man of many vices, succeeds the emperor Justinian. He associates with himself Tiberius "who was just, charitable, a discerner of the right and winner of victories and - a feature that surpasses all other excellences - a most orthodox Christian.]
   41. Albin, king of the Lombards, who had married Chlotsinda, daughter of king Clothar, abandoned his country and set out for Italy with all the Lombard people. They put their army in motion and went with their wives and children, purposing to remain there. They entered the country and spent seven years chiefly in wandering through it, despoiling the churches, killing the bishops, and bringing the land under their control. When his wife Chlotsinda died, Albin married another wife whose father he had killed a short time before. For this reason the woman always hated her husband and awaited an opportunity to avenge the wrong done her father, and so it happened that she fell in love with one of the household slaves and poisoned her husband. When he died she went off with the slave but they were overtaken and put to death together. Then the Lombards chose another king over them.
   42. Eunius, who was also named Mummulus, was made patrician by king Gunthram. I think that certain details should be given as to the beginning of his military service. He was a son of Peonius and native of the city of Auxerre. Peonius governed this town as count. And when he had sent gifts to the king by his son to secure reappointment, the son gave his father's presents and asked for his father's office, and took his place when he should have helped him. From this start he gradually rose and attained a greater prominence. And upon the invasion of the Gauls by the Lombards the patrician Amatus, who had lately succeeded Celsus, went against them and engaged in battle, but was defeated and slain. And it is said that the slaughter of the Burgundians by the Lombards was so great on that occasion that the slain could not be counted. And the Lombards loaded with plunder departed again for Italy. And upon their departure Eunius, also named Murmmulus, was summoned by the king and raised to the high office of patrician. When the Lombards made a second inroad into the Gauls and came as far as Mustiœ Calmes near the city of Embrun, Mummulus set his army in motion and came to that place with the Burgundians. He surrounded the Lombards with his army and made an abattis and attacked them in pathless woods, and killing many took a number of captives whom he sent to the king. The king ordered them to be kept under guard in various places through the country, but a few in one way or another escaped and took the news to their native land. There were present in this battle Salonius and Sagittarius, brothers and bishops, who armed themselves-not 'with the cross of heaven but with the worldly helmet and what is worse, are reported to have killed many with their own hands. This was Mummulus' first victory. Then the Saxons, who had entered Italy with the Lombards, made a second expedition into the Gauls, and pitched camp in the territory of Riez, that is, near the village of Estoublon, scattering from there among the villages belonging to neighboring cities, taking booty, leading off captives and laying all waste. When Mummolus learned of this he set his army in motion and attacked them, killing many thousands, and he did not cease to cut them down until evening when night made an end. For he had taken them off their guard when they expected nothing of what happened. In the morning the Saxons marshaled their army and made ready for battle, but messengers passed from one army to the other and they made peace. They gave presents to Mummolus, and surrendered all the plunder of the region with the captives, and departed after taking oath that they would return to the Gauls in obedience to the kings and as allies to the Franks. And so the Saxons returned to Italy, and taking their wives and little ones and all their possessions undertook the return journey into the Gauls with the intention of presenting themselves to king Sigibert and establishing themselves again in the district which they had left. They formed two wedges [cunios] as they call them; and one came by way of Nice and the other by Embrun, keeping in fact to the road they had come the previous year, and the two divisions united the territory of Avignon. It was then harvest time, and that country had its crops chiefly in the open fields and the inhabitants had not stored any of them. When the Saxons came they divided the crops among them and gathered and threshed the grain and used it, leaving nothing to those who had done the work. But after the harvest had been used up and they came to the shore of the river Rhone in order to cross the torrent and present themselves in the kingdom of king Sigibert, Mummolus met them and said: "You shall not cross this torrent. Behold, you have devastated the land of my lord the king, you have gathered the crops, plundered the herds, burned the houses, cut down the olive groves and vineyards. You shall not go up unless you first satisfy those whom you have left in want; otherwise you shall not escape my hands, but I shall draw my sword against you and your wives and little ones and avenge the wrong done to my lord king Gunthram." Then they were very much afraid and gave many thousand pieces of coined gold as a ransom, and were allowed to cross, and thus they came to Clermont. It was then springtime. They brought there pieces of bronze engraved like gold, and any one seeing them would have no doubt that it was gold tested and weighed for it was colored by some device or other. And a good many were deceived by the false appearance and gave gold and received bronze and became poor. And they went on to king Sigibert and ere settled in the land they had left.
   [43. Albinus, governor of Provence, seizes archdeacon Virgilius on Christmas day in the church for failing to punish his men; Albinus is fined. 44. Three Lombard chiefs invade Gaul but are defeated and driven back into Italy by Mummolus. 45. Mummulus recovers Tours and Poitiers for Sigibert from Chilperic.]
   46. As I am about to speak of the death of Andarchius, it seems best to tell first of his birth and native place. He was a slave of the senator Felix as they say, and being assigned to attend is young master he entered with him upon the study of letters and became distinguished for his learning. For he was fully instructed in the works of Virgil, the books of the Theodosian law, and the art of calculation. Being puffed up with such knowledge he began to hold his masters in contempt, and devoted himself to the service of duke Lupus when he went to the city of Marseille by order of king Sigibert. When Lupus left Marseilles he told Andarchius to go with him and secured for him the favor of king Sigibert and put him at his service. And Sigibert sent him to various places and gave him an opportunity for military service Being held in a sort of honor because of this he came to Clermont and there entered into friendship with Ursus, a citizen of the city Then being of an ambitious temper he wished to be betrothed to Ursus' daughter, and concealed a coat of mail, as they tell, in a chest in which documents used to be kept, and said to Ursus' wife: "I give in your care a multitude of gold pieces, more than sixteen thou sand, which I have placed in this chest, and it shall be yours if you will cause your daughter to be betrothed to me." "To what do you not drive the hearts of men, accursed greed for gold? The woman believed him without reserve and in her husband's absence agreed to betroth the girl to him. He went back to the king and brought an order to the judge of the place commanding him to marry this girl, saying: "I paid the earnest money at the betrothal." But Ursus denied it saying: "I do not know who you are and I have none of your property." When the quarrel continued and grew hotter Andarchius had Ursus summoned to the presence of the king. And coming to the village of Braine he found another man named Ursus whom he caused to be taken secretly to the altar and to swear and say: "By this holy place and the relics of the blessed martyrs I will not delay in paying you the sixteen thousand solidi, since I am not to give my daughter in marriage to you." Now witnesses were standing in the sanctuary listening secretly to what was said but not seeing the person who spoke. Then Andarchius soothed Ursus with gentle words and caused him to return to his native place without seeing the king. After this he made an oath and when Ursus went away he produced before the king a document containing the oath and said: ''Such and such is the writing I have from Ursus, and therefore I request an order from your glory that he give his daughter to me in marriage. Otherwise let me have authority to take his possessions until I receive sixteen thousand solidi and am satisfied in this case " Then he received the order and returned to Clermont and showed the judge the king's order. Ursus retired into the territory of Velay. And when his property was turned over to Andarchius he also went to Velay, and going into one of Ursus' houses he bade them prepare supper for him and heat water for bathing. And when the slaves of the household did not obey their new master, he beat some with clubs, others with switches, and struck some on head, drawing blood. The whole household was in confusion but the supper was prepared; he bathed in hot water, became drunk with wine and stretched himself on his couch. He had only seven slaves with him. And when they were sound asleep, weighed down by drowsiness not less than by wine, the household was gathered together, and Ursus closed the doors of the house which were made of wooden boards. He took the keys and tore down the stacks of grain near by and heaped piles of the grain which was then in the sheaf around and above the house until it was seen that the house was entirely covered. Then he set fire to in different places and when the burning timbers of the building were falling on the luckless ones they awoke and began to shout but there was no one to listen to them and the whole house was burned and the fire consumed all alike. Ursus fled in fear to the church of St. Julian, and after making presents to the king he received again a good title to his property.
   [47. Civil war between Chilperic and Sigibert. "There was at that time a worse outcry among the churches than in the time of Diocletian's persecution." 48. The wickedness of the people of Gaul as compared to earlier times; the plundering of the monastery of Latta. 49. The civil war is continued. Sigibert forces Chilperic to restore his cities. 50. Chilperic shuts himself up in Tournai.]
   51. In that year lightning was seen to traverse the sky as once we saw before the death of Clothar. Now Sigibert took the cities this side of Paris and marched as far as Rouen, wishing to destroy these same cities with his army. But he was prevented from doing so by his own people. He returned thence and entered Paris. And there Brunhilda came to him with her children. Then the Franks who had once looked to the older Childebert, sent an embassy to Sigibert that if he would come to them they would abandon Chilperic and make him king over them. On hearing this he sent men to besiege his brother in the city mentioned above, and he himself purposed to hasten thither. And, the holy bishop Germanus said to him, "If you go and do not purpose to kill your brother you shall return alive and victorious; but if you have another purpose in mind you shall die. For thus said the Lord through Solomon: 'You who prepare a pit for your brother shall fall into it.' But because of his wickedness he failed to pay heed. And when he came to the village named Vitry, all the army was gathered about him, and they placed him on a shield and made him king over them. Then two slaves who had been placed under a charm by Queen Fredegunda, carrying strong knives with poisoned blades - of the sort commonly called scramasaxi - approached him on some pretext and stabbed him one on each side. He cried aloud and fell and died in a short time. At the same time Charigysel, his chamberlain, was slain and Sigila who came from the land of the Goths was seriously wounded. He was afterwards seized by King Chilperic and met a cruel death, every joint being burned with white-hot irons and his limbs being torn one from the other. Charigysel was both fickle and avaricious. He had risen from a lowly place and become great with the king by flattery. He was a man who grasped other men's property, and was a breaker of wills, and the end of his life was such that he did not succeed in making his own will when death threatened, he who had so often destroyed the wills of others.
   Chilperic was in suspense and did not know whether he should escape or perish, when messengers came to him to tell of his brother's death. Then he left Tournai with his wife and children and clothed Sigibert and buried him in the village of Lambres. Whence he was later transferred to Soissons to the church of the holy Medard which he had built, and was buried there by the side of his father Clothar. He died in the fourteenth year of his reign, the fortieth of his life. From the death of Theodobert the elder to that of Sigibert twenty-nine years are included, and there were eighteen days between his death and that of his nephew Theodobert. Upon the death of Sigibert, Childebert his son reigned in his place.
   From the beginning to the flood there were 2242 years; from the flood to Abraham 942 years; from Abraham to the going out of the children of Israel from Egypt 462 years; from the going of the children of Israel from Egypt to the building of the temple of Solomon 480 years; from the building of the temple to its desolation and the migration to Babylon 390 years; from the migration to passion of the Lord 668 years; from the passion of the Lord to the death of St. Martin 412 years; from the death of St. Martin to the death of King Clovis 112 years; from the death of King Clovis to the death of Theodobert 37 years; from the death of Theodobert to the death of Sigibert 29 years. Which make a total of 5774 years.



[1] Sidonius Apollinarius