Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks


  1. Childebert goes over to Chilperic; Mummulus flees
  2. Return of Chilperic's legates from the East
  3. Childebert's legates to Chilperic
  4. How Lupus was driven from Childebert's kingdom
  5. Argument with a Jew
  6. The holy recluse Hospicius; his abstinence and miracles
  7. Passing away of Ferreolus, bishop of Uzès
  8. The recluse Ebarchius of Angoulême
  9. Domnolus, bishop of Mans
  10. St. Martin's church is broken into
  11. Bishop Theodore and Dinamius
  12. An army marches against Bourges
  13. The killing of Lupus and Ambrosius, citizens of Tours
  14. The portents which appeared
  15. Death of bishop Felix
  16. Pappolenus recovers his wife
  17. Conversion of Jews by king Chilperic
  18. Return of king Chilperic's legates from Spain
  19. King Chilperic's men at the river Orge
  20. Death of duke Chrodinus
  21. Signs that appeared
  22. Bishop Cartherius
  23. A son is born to king Chilperic
  24. A second time about the plots against bishop Theodore and about Gundovald
  25. Signs
  26. Gunthram and Mummolus
  27. King Chilperic enters Paris
  28. Marcus the referendary
  29. The nuns of Poitiers
  30. Death of the emperor Tiberius
  31. The many evil deeds that king Chilperic ordered to be done, or did himself, in his brother's cities
  32. Leudast's death
  33. Locusts, plagues, and prodigies
  34. Death of Chilperic's son named Theodoric
  35. Death of the prefect Mummulus and the women who were put to death
  36. Bishop Etherius
  37. Killing of Lupentius, abbot of Javols
  38. Death of bishop Theodosius and his successor
  39. Death of bishop Remedius and his successor
  40. My argument with a heretic
  41. King Chilperic retires to Cambrai with his treasures
  42. Childebert goes to Italy
  43. The kings of Gallicia
  44. Various prodigies
  45. Marriage of Riguntha, Chilperic's daughter
  46. King Chilperic's death



   [1. Childebert allied himself with Chilperic instead of with Gunthram; a synod meets at Lyons.]
   2. Meantime King Chilperic's legates, who had gone three years before to the emperor Tiberius, returned, but not without severe loss and danger. For as they did not dare to enter the harbor of Marseilles on account of the quarrels among the kings, they made for Agde [1] which is situated in the Gothic kingdom. But before they could reach the shore the ship was driven by the wind and dashed on the land and broken to fragments. The legates and their men, seeing they were in danger, seized planks and with difficulty reached the shore, many of the men being lost;: but most escaped. The inhabitants took the articles that the waves carried ashore, but they recovered the more valuable of them and carried them to king Chilperic. The people of Agde nevertheless kept much. At that time I had gone to the villa of Nogent to see the king, and there he showed me a great basin of fifty pounds' weight which he had made of gold and gems and he said: "I made this to bring honor and glory to the Frankish people. And I shall make many more if I live." He showed me also gold coins each of a pound's weight sent by the emperor having on one side the likeness of the emperor and the inscription in a circle: Tiberi Constantini Perpetui Augusti and on the other a four­horse chariot and charioteer with the inscription: Gloria Romanorum. He showed me also many other beautiful things brought by the legates.
   [3. The alliance between Chilperic and Childebert is confirmed and they agree to take Gunthram's kingdom away from him.]
   4. Now Lupus, duke of Champagne, had long been continually: harassed and plundered by his enemies and especially by Ursio and Bertefred. And at length they made an agreement to kill him and they marched against him. But queen Brunhilda heard of it, and grieving at the unjust attacks on her loyal supporter she armed herself like a man and rushed into the midst of the opposing forces and cried: "Do not, O warriors, do not do this evil; do not attack the innocent; do not for one man engage in a battle which will destroy the welfare of the district." Ursio answered her: "Leave us, woman; let it suffice for you to have ruled under your husband; but now your son rules and his kingdom will be maintained not by your support but by ours. Leave us or our horses' hooves will trample you to the earth." When they had continued such talk as this a long time the queen's determination that they should not fight prevailed. However, on leaving that locality they burst into Lupus's houses, seized all his property and took it home, pretending they were going to place it in the king's treasury, and they threatened Lupus and said: " He will never escape alive from our hands." Lupus saw he was in danger and, placing his wife in safety within the walls of the city of Laon, he fled to king Gunthram, and being welcomed by him he remained in hiding, waiting till Childebert should come of age.
   5. While king Chilperic was still at the villa mentioned above he directed his baggage to be moved and made arrangements to go to Paris. And when I went to see him to say good­by, a certain Jew named Priscus came in who was on friendly terms with him and helped him buy costly articles. The king took him by the hair in a gentle way and said to me: "Come, bishop of God, and lay your hands on him." But he struggled and the king said to him: "O obstinate­minded and ever disbelieving race, which does not recognize the Son of God promised to it by the voices of its prophets and does not recognize the mysteries of the church prefigured in its own sacrifices." To these words the Jew replied: "God never married nor was blessed with offspring nor allowed any one to share his power, but he said by the mouth of Moses: 'See, see that I am the Lord and except me there is no God. I shall kill and I shall make alive; I shall wound and I shall heal."… [2] Although I said this and more, the wretched man felt no remorse and refused to believe. Then when he was silent and the king saw that he was not conscience stricken because of my words, he turned to me and asked to receive my blessing that he might depart He said: "I will say to you, bishop, what Jacob said to the angel, for he said to him, 'I will not let you go until you bless me."' So saying he ordered water brought for our hands. After washing them we prayed, and taking bread I thanked God and took it myself and offered it to the king, and after a draught of wine I said farewell and left. And the king mounted his horse and returned to Paris with his wife and daughter and all his household.
   6. There was at this time in the city of Nice a recluse Hospicius who was very abstemious. He wore iron chains next his body and over these a hair shirt and ate nothing but plain bread with a few dates. And during Lent he lived on the roots of Egyptian herbs such as the hermits use, which were brought to him by traders. First he would drink the soup in which they were cooked and eat the roots next day. The Lord did not disdain to work great miracles through him. For at one time the Holy Spirit revealed to him the coming of the Lombards into the Gauls and he foretold it as follows: "The Lombards," said he, "will come into the Gauls and will lay waste seven cities because their wickedness has grown in the sight of God, since no one understands, no one seeks God, no one does good to appease the anger of God. For all the people are unfaithful, given up to perjury, addicted to thievery, ready to kill, and from them comes no fruit of justice at all. Tithes are not paid, the poor are not fed, the naked are not clothed, strangers are not received with hospitality or satisfied with food. Therefore this affliction has come. And now I say to you: 'Gather all your substance within the inclosure of the walls that the Lombards may not take it, and fortify yourselves in the strongest places."' At these words all stood gaping and they said good­by and returned home with great admiration. He also said to the monks: "You, too, depart from the place and take with you what you have. For behold the people I have named draw near." But when they replied: "We will not leave you, most holy father," he said to them: "Don't fear for me; for they will offer me insults but they will not harm me unto death." The monks went away and that people came and laying waste all they found, they came to the place where the holy recluse of God was. And he showed himself to them at the window of the tower. They went all round the tower but could find no entrance by which they could come to him. Then two climbed up and pulled the roof off, and seeing him bound with chains and clad in a hair shirt they said: "Here is a malefactor who has killed a man and therefore is kept bound in these fetters." They called an interpreter and asked him what crime he had committed to be so confined in punishment. And he confessed that he was a homicide and guilty of all crime. Then one of them drew his sword to strike at his head, but his lifted right arm stiffened in the very act of striking and he could not draw it back to him. He let go the sword and let it fall on the ground. Seeing this, his comrades raised a shout to heaven begging the saint to declare to them kindly what they were to do. And he made the sign of salvation and restored the arm to health. The man was converted on the spot and received the tonsure and is now reckoned a most faithful monk. And two dukes who I listened to him returned safe to their native place but those who despised his command perished wretchedly in the province. Many of them were seized with demons and cried: "Why, holy and blessed one, do you so torture and burn us?" And he laid his I hand on them and cured them. After this there was a man of Angers who in a severe fever had lost both speech and hearing, and when he got better of the fever he continued deaf and dumb. Now a deacon was sent from that province to Rome to obtain relics of the blessed apostles and other saints who protect that city. And when he came to this infirm person's relatives they begged him to take him as a companion on the journey, believing that if he reached the tombs of the blessed apostles he would forthwith be cured. They went on their way and came to the place where the blessed Hospicius lived. After greeting and kissing him, the deacon told the purpose of his journey and said he was starting for Rome and asked the holy man to recommend him to ship captains who were friends of his. And while he was still staying there the blessed man felt that power was in him through the spirit of the Lord. And he said to the deacon: "I beg you to bring to my sight the infirm person who is the companion of your journey." The deacon made no delay but went swiftly to his lodging and found the infirm person full of fever, and he indicated by signs that there was a humming in his ears. The deacon seized him and led him to the saint of God. The holy man took hold of his hair and drew his head into the window, and taking oil that had been blessed, he took hold of his tongue with his left hand and poured the oil in his mouth and on the top of his head, saying: "In the name of my lord Jesus Christ let your ears be opened and let that power which once drove a wicked demon from a deaf and dumb man open your lips." Having said this, he asked him his name, and he answered in a clear voice: "I am called so­and­so." When the deacon saw this he said: "I give thee endless thanks, Jesus Christ, who deignest to work such miracles by thy servant. I was seeking Peter, I was seeking Paul and Laurence and the others who made Rome glorious with their blood; here I have found them all, I have discovered every one." As he was saying this with loud weeping and great admiration the man of God, wholly intent on avoiding vanity, said: "Be silent, beloved brother, it is not I who do this, but he who created the universe out of nothing, who took on man for our sake, and gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb; who bestowed on lepers the skin they had before, on the dead life, and on all the infirm abundant healing." Then the deacon said farewell and departed rejoicing with his comrades. When they had gone a certain Dominic-this was the man's name-who had been blind from birth, came to prove his miraculous power, and when he had dwelt in the monastery two or three months praying and fasting, at length the man of God called him to him and said: "Do you wish to recover your sight?" And he replied: "I wish to know a thing unknown. For I do not know what the light is. Only one thing I know, that it is praised by men. But I have not deserved to see from the beginning of my life until now." Then he made the holy cross over his eyes with oil that had been blessed and said: "In the name of Jesus Christ our redeemer let your eyes be opened." And at once his eyes were opened and he wondered and contemplated the great works of God which he saw in this world. Then a certain woman who, as she herself asserted, had three demons, was brought to him. And he blessed her with a sacred touch and made the cross in holy oil on her forehead and the demons were driven out and she departed cleansed. Moreover he cured by his blessing a girl who was vexed with an unclean spirit. And when the day of his death was drawing nigh he summoned the prior of the monastery and said: "Bring iron tools to open the wall and send messengers to the bishop of the city to come and bury me; For on the third day I shall depart from this world and go to the appointed rest which the Lord has promised me." Upon this the prior sent messengers to the bishop of Nice to carry this word. After this one Crescens went to his window and seeing him bound with chains and full of worms he said: "O my master, how can you bear such tortures so bravely?" And he replied: "He comforts me in whose name I suffer this. For I tell you that I am now freed from these bonds and am going to my rest." When the third day came he laid aside the chains by which he was bound and prostrated himself in prayer, and after he had prayed and wept a long time he lay down on a bench and stretched out his feet and raised his hands to heaven and thanked God and died. And immediately all the worms that were boring through his holy limbs disappeared. And bishop Austadius came and most carefully placed the blessed body in the grave. All these things I learned from the lips of the very deaf and dumb man who as I related above was healed by him. He told me many other miracles of his but I have been kept from describing them by the fact that I have been told that his life has been written by many persons.
   [7. The bishops of Uzès.]
   8. Ebarchius died also, a recluse of Angoulême, a man of great holiness through whom God did many miracles, and leaving out most of them I will tell briefly of a few. He was a native of Perigueux, but after his conversion he entered the clergy and went to Angoulême and built a cell for himself. There he gathered a few monks and prayed continually, and if any gold or silver was offered to him he would pay it out for the necessities of the poor or to ransom captives. No bread was baked in that cell while he lived but was brought in by the devout when it was needed. He ransomed a great number of people from the offerings of the devout. He often cured the poison of malignant pimples by the sign of the cross and by prayer drove demons out from the bodies that they possessed and with his charming manner often rather ordered than requested judges to spare the guilty. For he was so attractive in his address that they could not deny him when he asked a favor. On one occasion a prisoner who was vehemently accused by the inhabitants of many crimes, both thefts and homicides, was to be hanged for theft, and when this was reported to Ebarchius he sent his monk to entreat the judge to grant life to the guilty man. But since the throng insulted the judge and cried loudly that if he were let go it would be good neither for the country nor the judge, the prisoner could not be let go. Meanwhile he was stretched on the wheel, beaten with rods and clubs and condemned to the gallows And when the monk sadly brought the news to the abbot he said: "Go, wait at a distance, for, be assured, the Lord will grant us of his own gift what man has refused. When you see him fall, take him and bring him at once to the monastery." The monk went about his bidding and Ebarchius threw himself down in prayer and wept and poured forth prayers to God until, the bar and chains being broken, the hanged man should be placed on the ground. Then the monk took him and brought him safe and well to the abbot. And he thanked God and ordered the count summoned and said to him: "You were always used to hear me kindly, beloved son, and why did you harden yourself today and refuse to let the man go whose life I asked for?" He replied: "I would willingly heed you, sacred priest, but the people rose and I could do nothing else for fear of a rebellion." The recluse answered: "You did not heed me, but God deigned to heed me, and he restored to life the one whom you gave to death. Behold," said he, "he stands alive before you." As he said this the man threw himself at the feet of the count who was astonished that he saw living one whom he left dead. This I heard from the lips of the count himself. Moreover he did many other miracles which I have thought tedious to relate. After forty­four years as a recluse he contracted a fever and died. He was taken forth from his cell and buried. And a great assembly of those he had ransomed, as we have said, followed his funeral.
   9. Domnolos, bishop of Mans began to sicken. In the time of king Clothar he had been in charge of the monks at the church of St. Laurence in Paris. But as he had always been faithful to king Clothar while the older Childebert was still living and often concealed his messengers when sent to spy, the king was awaiting an opportunity to make him bishop. When the bishop of Avignon passed away he had purposed to appoint him there. But the blessed Domnolus heard of this and came to the church of St. Martin where king Clothar had then come for prayer, and after spending a whole night in watching, he sent a hint to the king through the leading men who were there not to remove him far from the king's sight like a captive and not to permit a man of his straightforward character to be worn out among sophistical senators and philosophizing judges, saying this was a place of humiliation for him rather than of honor. To this the king assented, and when Innocentius bishop of Mans died he appointed him as bishop of that church. When he had reached this honor he conducted himself so that he rose to the summit of holiness and restored the power of walking to a lame man and sight to one who was blind. After twenty­two years in his episcopate he perceived that he was greatly worn out with the king's evil and gout and he selected the abbot Theodulf for his place. The king assented to his desire but not long after changed his mind, and the election was given to Batechisil the king's major domo. He received the tonsure, went through the grades of the clergy in forty days, and when the bishop passed away he succeeded him.
   10. In these days thieves broke into St. Martin's church. They placed a railing which was on the tomb of a dead man at a window of the apse and climbing up by it they broke the glass and entered; and taking a great quantity of gold and silver and silken cloths they went off, not fearing to set foot on the holy tomb where we scarcely dare to touch our lips. But the saint's power made this foolhardy deed known by a terrible judgment. For after committing the crime they went to the city of Bordeaux and a quarrel arose and one killed the other, and thus their deed was found out and their theft was revealed, and the broken silver and the cloths were taken from their lodging. When this was reported to king Chilperic he ordered them to be bound and brought into his presence. Then I was afraid that men would die because of him who in his lifetime in the body often prayed for the lives of the lost, and sent the king a letter of entreaty not to put these men to death since we to whom prosecution belonged did not accuse them. And he received my request with kindness and restored them to life. And the valuable articles which had been scattered he collected very carefully and ordered them sent back to the holy place.
   [11. Dinamius, governor of Provence, and Theodore, bishop of Marseilles, quarrel. Childebert supports Theodore and Gunthram Dinamius. 12. Chilperic takes advantage of the quarrel and seizes Perigueux, Agen, and a number of other cities belonging to Gunthram]
   13. Lupus, a citizen of Tours, having lost wife and children, desired to enter the clergy but was prevented by his brother Ambrose who was afraid that he would leave his property to the church of God if he were joined to it. Ambrose, persuading him to his harm, provided him with another wife and appointed the day to meet to give the betrothal gifts. Then they went together to the town of Chinon where they had a dwelling. But Ambrose's wife being an adulteress and loving another with the love of a lewd woman and hating her husband, made a plot for him. And when these brothers had feasted together and had drunk wine in the night until they were intoxicated, they lay down on the same bed. When the adulterer came in the night when all were sleeping heavily because of the wine and setting fire to the straw in order to see what he was doing, he drew his sword and struck Ambrose on the head so that the sword went in at his eyes and cut the pillow in two beneath his head. Lupus was aroused by the blow and finding himself wallowing in blood, he called in a loud voice saying: "Alas, Alas! Help; my brother is killed." But the adulterer who had committed the deed and was now going off, heard this and returned to the bed and attacked Lupus. Although he resisted he was wounded many times, and overwhelmed and given a mortal stroke and left half dead. But no one of the household knew of it. In the morning all were amazed at such a crime. Lupus however was found to be still alive and after telling the story as it occurred, he died. But the harlot did not take a long time to mourn. In a few days she joined her adulterer and departed.
   14. In king Childebert's seventh year, which was the twenty-first of Chilperic and Gunthram, in the month of January there were rains and heavy thunder and lightning; blossoms appeared on the trees. The star which I called above the comet, appeared in such a way that there was a great blackness all around it and it t was placed as it were in a hole and gleamed in the darkness, sparkling and scattering rays of light. And a ray of wonderful size extended from it which appeared like the smoke of a great fire a long way off. It appeared in the west in the first hour of the night. At Soissons on the day of holy Easter the heavens were seen to be on fire, and there appeared to be two fires, one greater and the other less. And after the space of two hours they united and formed a great flame and vanished. In the territory of Paris real blood fell from the clouds and dropped on the garments of many men and so defiled them with gore that they shuddered at their own clothes and put them away from them. This prodigy appeared in three places in the territory of that city. In the territory of Senlis a certain man's house when he rose in the morning appeared to have been sprinkled with blood from within. There was a great plague that year among the people. The sickness took various forms and was severe with pimples and tumors which brought death to many. Still many who were careful escaped. We heard that at Narbonne in that year the bubonic plague was very fatal, so that when a man was seized by it he ad no time to live.
   15. Felix, bishop of Nantes, was stricken by this plague and began to be seriously sick. Then he called the neighboring bishops to him and begged them to give the influence of their signatures to the choice which he had made of his nephew Burgundio. Then they sent him to me. At that time Burgundio was about twenty-five years old. He came and asked that I would consent to go to Nantes and give him the tonsure and consecrate him bishop in place of his uncle who was still living. This I refused to do since I knew it was not in accordance with the canons. Still I gave him advice saying: "We have it written in the canons, my son, that no one can rise to the office of bishop unless he first passes through the grades of the clergy in regular order. You then, dearly beloved must return thither and request him who has made choice of you, to give you the tonsure; and when you reach the office of priest, be regular in attendance at church; and when God wills that he pass away, then you will readily attain to the office of bishop." He returned and pretended to take my advice, since the bishop Felix seemed to be recovering from his illness. But after the fever detparted his legs burst out in pimples from the humor. Then he put on too strong a poultice of cantharides and his legs putrefied and he died in the thirty­third year of his episcopate and in the seventieth of his life. And Nonnichius his cousin succeeded him by the king's order.
   [16. Felix's niece had been married to Pappolenus but Felix brought about their separation. Pappolenus now recovered his wife from a nunnery.]
   17. King Chilperic ordered many Jews to be baptized that year and received a number of them from the sacred font. Some of them however were purified in body only, not in heart, and lying to God they returned to their former perfidy so that they could be seen to observe the Sabbath as well as honor the Lord's day. But Priscus could not be influenced in any way to recognize the truth. The king was angry at him and ordered him to be put into prison, in the idea that if he did not wish to believe of his own accord he would force him to hear and believe. But Priscus offered gifts and asked for time until his son should marry a Hebrew girl at Marseilles; he promised deceitfully that he would then do what the king required. Meantime a quarrel arose between him and Phatir, one of the Jewish converts who was now a godson to the king. And when on the Sabbath Priscus clad in an orary and carrying nothing of iron in his hand, was retiring to a secret place to fulfill the law of Moses, suddenly Phatir came upon him and slew him with the sword together with the companions who accompanied him. When they were slain Phatir fled with his men to the church of St. Julian, which was on a neighboring street. While they were there they heard that the king had granted to the master his life but ordered the men to be dragged like malefactors from the church and put to death. Then, their master being already gone, one of them drew his sword and killed his comrades and then left the church armed with his sword, but the people rushed upon him and he was cruelly killed. Phatir obtained permission and returned to Gunthram's kingdom whence he had come. But soon after he was killed by Priscus's kinsmen.
   [18. Legates returning from Spain report that king Leuvigild admits that Christ is the equal of God but denies that the Holy Spirit is God at all. 19. Gunthram's men cross the river Orge and do damage in Chilperic's territory.]
   20. In that year Chrodinus died, a man of magnificent goodness and piety, a great almsgiver and helper of the poor, a lavish enricher of churches and supporter of the clergy. For he often started at the beginning and cleared estates, laying out vineyards, building houses, making fields. And he would then invite bishops who were poor and give them a feast and generously distribute among them houses with fields and men to till them and silver and bedding and utensils and officers and slaves saying: "Let these properties be given to the church, that when poor men are supported upon them they may obtain pardon for me before God." I have heard many other good things of this man which it would take too long to tell. He died in his seventieth year.
   [21. List of prodigies.]
   22. King Chilperic, having seized cities belonging to his brother, appointed new counts and ordered that all the tribute of the cities be paid to him. And we know that this was done. In these days two men were seized by Nunnichius, count of Limoges, who were carrying letters in the name of Charterius, bishop of Perigueux, which contained many insults against the king; and among the rest it was put as if the bishop were complaining that he had gone down from paradise to hell, because forsooth he had been transferred from Gunthram's rule to the dominion of Chilperic. The count just named sent these letters and these men to the king under strict guard. The king patiently sent for the bishop to come to his presence to tell whether the charges against him were true or not. The bishop came and the king confronted him with the men and the letters. He asked the bishop if they had been sent by him. He said they had not. The men then were asked from whom they had received them. They said it was Frontonius the deacon. The bishop was asked about the deacon. He replied that he was his greatest enemy and there could be no doubt that this was his wickedness since he had often set wicked plots going against him. The deacon was brought at once and questioned by the king. He testified against the bishop saying: " It was I wrote this letter at the bishop's order." But the bishop cried out and said that this man had often devised clever tricks to cast him out from his office, and the king was moved with pity and commending his cause to God he let them both go, interceding with the bishop for the deacon and begging the bishop to pray for him. And thus the bishop was sent back with honor to the city. But after two months count Nunnichius who started this scandal died from an apoplectic stroke and as he was without children his property was granted to several persons by the king.
   [23. On account of the birth of a son king Chilperic releases prisoners and remits taxes. 24. Gundovald, who claims to be a son of Clothar, returns to Gaul from Constantinople and is received by bishop Theodore of Marseilles who is thereupon seized and held prisoner by king Gunthram. 25. Prodigies. 26. Gunthram Boso is charged with bringing Gundovald to he says that Mummolus is guilty of this and promises to bring him to king Gunthram.]
   26. .... Now duke Gunthram took with him the men of Clermont and Le Velay and went off to Avignon. But by a stratagem of Mummolus rotten boats were ready for them at the Rhone. They embarked on them without suspicion and when they came to the middle of the river the boats filled and sank. Then being in danger, some escaped by swimming and a number tore planks from the boats and reached the shore. But a good many who had less presence of mind were drowned in the river. Duke Gunthram however reached Avignon. Now Mummolus on entering the city had seen to it that as only a small part was left which was not guarded by the Rhone, the whole place should be protected by a channel into which he led water from the river. Here he had dug holes of great depth and running water concealed the traps he had made. Then upon the coming of Gunthram Mummolus cried from the wall: "Since we are men of good faith, let him come to one bank and to the other, and let him say what he wants." When they had come Gunthram said from the other side--it was this arm of the river that was between them--"If you please I will cross, because there are some things to speak of in secret." Mummolus answered: "Come, don't be afraid." Thereupon he entered the water with one of his friends - he was wearing a heavy coat of mail--and immediately when they reached the hole in the river the friend sank under the water and did not reappear. But while Gunthram was under water and being carried along by the swift current one of the bystanders stretched out a spear to his hand and brought him ashore. And then he and Mummolus abused one another before leaving the place. While Gunthram was besieging this city with king Gunthram's army the news was taken to Childebert. He was angry because Gunthram was doing this without being ordered and sent Gundulf whom I have mentioned before to the place. He put an end to the siege and took Mummolus to Clermont. But after a few days he returned to Avignon.
   27. Chilperic went to Paris the day before Easter was celebrated, and to avoid the curses contained in the compact between him and his brothers that no one of them should enter Paris without the consent of the others, the relics of many saints were carried before him as he entered the city, and he spent Easter amid great mirth, and gave his son to be baptized, and Ragnemod, bishop of the city, received him from the holy font. Chilperic directed them to call him Theodoric.
   [28. Marcus the referendary dies, first receiving the tonsure. 29. The piety of the nuns of Poitiers is described. As the result of a vision, one of them acted as follows.]
   When the maiden had had this vision she was contrite in heart and after a few days she asked the abbess to get ready a cell in which she could be shut. The abbess got it ready quickly and said: "Here is the cell. What more do you wish?" The maiden asked to be permitted to be shut in it. This was granted, and the nuns gathered with loud psalm­singing and the lamps were lighted and she was conducted to the place, the blessed Radegunda holding her hand. And so she said farewell to all and kissed each one and became a recluse. And the entrance by which she went in was walled up and she is there now spending her time in prayer and reading.
   [30. The emperor Tiberius dies and Mauritius succeeds him.]
   31. King Chilperic received legates from his nephew Childebert and am them the leader was Egidius, bishop of Rheims. On being brought before the King they presented their letter and said: "Our master your nephew begs you to keep with especial care the peace you have made with him since he cannot have peace with your brother, who took away his share of Marseilles after his father's death and retains fugitives and is not willing to send them back. Therefore your nephew Childebert wishes to preserve unbroken friendship which he now has with you." Chilperic replied: "My brother has proven guilty in many particulars. For if my son Childebert would seek the path of reason, he would know at once that it was by my brother's connivance that his father was killed." Upon this bishop Egidius said: "If you would join with your nephew and he with you and take the field, due vengeance would be speedily visited on him." When they had sworn to this agreement and exchanged hostages, they departed. Then relying on these promises Chilperic set the army of his kingdom in motion and went to Paris. And on encamping there he brought great expense to the inhabitants. And duke Berulf went with the people of Tours, Poitiers, Angers, and Nantes to the boundary of Bourges. And Desiderius and Bladast with all the army of their province hemmed in the territory of Bourges on the other side, completely devastating the country through which they came. And Chilperic ordered the army which had come to him to pass through the territory of Paris. And when they passed through, he passed also and went to the town of Melun, burning and wasting all. And although his nephew's army did not come to him, still his dukes and legates were with him. Then he sent messengers to the dukes just mentioned and said: "Enter the territory of Bourges and go right to the city and demand the oath of fidelity in my name." But the people of Bourges gathered at the town of Châteaumeillant to the number of fifteen thousand and there fought duke Desiderius, and there was great slaughter there so that more than seven thousand from each army fell. And the dukes went to the city with the people who were left, plundering and devastating all. And such marauding was done there as was never heard of in old times, so that no house nor vineyard nor tree was left, but they cut, burned, and subdued all. Moreover they carried the sacred utensils from the churches and burned the churches with fire. But king Guntram went with an army against his brother, placing all his hope in the judgment of God. And one evening he sent his army and destroyed a great part of his brother's army. In the morning legates went to and fro and they made peace, promising one another that each would pay for what he had done beyond the limit of the law whatever the bishops and leaders of the people should decide. And so they parted peaceably. And when king Chilperic could not keep his army from plundering he slew the count of Rouen with the sword and thus returned to Paris, leaving all the booty and giving up the captives. And the besiegers of Bourges, on receiving orders to return home, took with them so much plunder that all the district they left was believed to be emptied of men and domestic animals. The army of Desiderius and Bladast went through the land of Tours and burned, plundered, and slew, as is the custom with enemies, and they took captives, the most of whom they spoiled and afterwards let go. There followed upon this disaster a disease among domestic animals so that S scarcely enough remained to make a start with, and it was strange if any one saw an ox or heifer. While this went on king Childebert remained with his army in one place. And one night the army mutinied and the lesser people raised a great murmur against bishop Egidius and the king's dukes, and began to cry aloud and shout in public, saying: "Let those be thrust from the presence of the king who sell his kingdom, give over his cities to the dominion of another, and betray his people to the rule of another prince." While they continued shouting such things the morning came, and they seized their armor and hastened to the king's tent in order to seize the bishop and leaders and crush them by force and beat and wound them. On learning of this the bishop fed on horseback and hastened to his own city. And the people pursued him hurling stones and shouting abuse. And he was saved by the fact that they had no horses ready. The bishop outstripped his companions' horses and hastened on alone so terrified that when one shoe dropped off he did not stop to put it on. And so he arrived at his city and shut himself within the walls of Rheims.
   32. A few months earlier Leudast had come to Tours with the king's command to take his wife back and dwell there. Moreover he brought me a letter signed by the bishops directing that he be admitted to the communion again. But since I saw no letter from the queen, on whose account especially he had been excommunicated, I put off admitting him and said: "When I receive the queen's command then I will not delay to admit him." Meantime I sent to her and she wrote back saying: "I was urged by many and could not help letting him go. But now I ask you not to be reconciled to him nor give him the holy bread from your hand until I consider more fully what I ought to do." But when I read this letter over I was afraid he would be killed, and sending for his brother­in­law I made it known to him and asked that Leudast be careful until the queen should relent. But he received with suspicion the advice which I gave frankly in God's sight, and since he was my enemy he refused to do what I ordered, and the proverb was fulfilled which I once heard an old man mention: "Always give good advice to friend and foe because the friend takes it and the foe despises it." And so he despised this advice and went to the king, who was then at Melun with his army, and he entreated the people to beg the king to see him. So when all made entreaty the king gave him a hearing. Leudast threw himself at his feet and begged for pardon, and the king replied to him: "Be on guard yet for a little while until I see the queen and make arrangement as to how you are to return into favor with her." But he was reckless and foolish and was confident because he had had a hearing before the king, and when the king returned to Paris he threw himself at the queen's feet in the holy church on the Lord's day and asked for pardon. But she was furious and cursed the sight of him and drove him away and said, bursting into tears: "I have no sons living to avenge the slander against me and I leave it to you, Lord Jesus, to avenge." And she threw herself at the king's feet and added: "Woe is me that I see my enemy and do not prevail over him." Then Leudast was driven from the holy place and the mass was celebrated. The king and queen returned from the holy church and Leudast went to the square having no idea what was going to happen to him; he went around the traders' houses,­ examined their costly wares, tested the weight of the silver articles and looked at various ornaments, saying: "I'll buy this and this because I still have much gold and silver." As he was saying this the queen's servants came suddenly and wished to bind him with chains. But he drew his sword and struck one of them. Then in a rage they seized their swords and shields and rushed at him. And one of them dealt a stroke that took hair and skin off a great part of his head. And as he fled across the city bridge his foot slipped between two planks of the bridge and his leg was broken and he was taken. His hands were tied behind his back and he was put in prison. The king ordered the physicians to attend him in order that when cured of his wounds he might be executed with prolonged torture. He was taken to one of the estates of the fisc but his wounds putrefied and he was dying when the queen ordered him to be laid on the ground on his back. Then a great bar of iron was placed under his neck and they struck his throat with another. And so after living an always perfidious life he died a just death.
   [33. List of Prodigies. 34. Death of Chilperic's son named Theodoric.]
   35. In the meantime the queen was told that the boy who had died had been taken away by evil arts and enchantments, and that Mummolus the prefect, whom the queen had long hated, had a share in the death of her son Theodoric. And it happened that while Mummolus was dining at home one from the king's court complained that a boy whom he loved had been attacked by dysentery. And the prefect said to him: "I have an herb at hand a draught of which will soon cure a sufferer from dysentery no matter how desperate the case." This was reported to the queen and she was the more enraged. Meantime she apprehended some women of Paris and plied them with tortures and strove to force them by blows to confess what they knew. And they admitted that they practiced magic and testified that they had caused many to die, adding what I do not allow anyone to believe: "We gave your son, O Queen, in exchange for Mummolus the prefect's life." Then the Queen used severer torture on the women and caused some to be drowned and delivered others over to fire, and tied others to wheels where their bones were broken. And then she retired with the king to the villa of Compiègne and there disclosed to him what she had heard of the prefect. The king sent his men and ordered him summoned, and after examining him they loaded him with chains and subjected him to torture. He was hung to a beam with his hands tied behind his back and there asked what he knew of the evil arts, but he confessed nothing of what we have told above. Nevertheless he told how he had often received from these women ointments and potions to secure for him the favor of the king and queen. Now when released from torture, he called a reader and said to him: "Tell my master the king that I feel no ill effect of the tortures inflicted on me." Hearing this the king said: "Is it not true that he practises evil arts if he has not been harmed by these tortures?" Then he was stretched on the wheel and beaten with triple thongs until his torturers were wearied out. Then they put splinters under his finger and toe nails. And when it had come to this, that the sword hung over him to cut his head off, the queen obtained his life; but a disgrace not less than death followed. Everything was taken from him and he was put on a rough wagon and sent to his birthplace, the city of Bordeaux. But on the way he had a stroke of apoplexy and was scarcely able to reach his destination. And not long after he died.
   Then the queen took all the boy had owned, both garments and costly articles, whether of silk or wool, all she could find, and burned them. They say there were four wagon­loads. She had the things of gold and silver melted in a furnace that nothing might remain as it was to recall the sad memory of her son.
   [36. Difficulties of Aetherius, bishop of Lisieux, with a dissolute priest and how he finally triumphed. 37. Abbot Lupentius is falsely accused, tortured, and murdered by Count Innocent. 38. Count Innocent becomes bishop of Rodez. 39. Sulpicius becomes bishop of Bourges. 40. Theological argument between Gregory and a Spanish legate. 41. King Chilperic retires to Cambrai. 42. Childebert receives money from the emperor to drive the Lombards out of Italy but fails to do so. 43. Events in Spain. 44. List of prodigies.]
   45. Meantime on the First of September came and a great embassy of Goths came to king Chilperic. He had now returned to Paris. He ordered many households of slaves to be taken from his estates and placed on the wagons; many too who wept and refused to go he ordered to be put under guard, in order to send them more easily with his daughter. They say that many in their grief hanged themselves, fearing they would be taken from their kinsmen. Son was separated from father, mother from daughter, and they departed with loud outcries and curses. There was such a wailing in the city of Paris that it was compared with the wailing of Egypt. Many of the older men who were forced to go made their wills and left their property to the churches, and requested that when the girl had entered the Spains the wills should be opened at once as if they were already buried.
   Meantime legates came to Paris from king Childebert and warned king Chilperic not to take anything from the cities he held that belonged to the realm of Childebert's father, [or present his daughter with the treasures in any of them] or dare to touch the slaves or horses or yokes of oxen or anything in them. They say that one of these legates was secretly killed, but it was not known by whom; still suspicion turned to the king. King Chilperic promised that he would touch nothing from these cities, and invited the Frankish nobles and the rest who had sworn fealty and celebrated his daughter's marriage. She was given over to the legates of the Goths and he gave her great treasures. Moreover her mother presented her with a great quantity of gold and silver and garments, so that when the king saw it he thought he had nothing left. The queen noticed he was provoked and she turned to the Franks and said: "Do not think, men, that I have anything here from the treasures of previous kings; for all that you see is taken from my own property, since the most glorious king has given me much and I have gathered a good deal by my own labor, and I have made great gains from houses granted to me, both from the revenues and the tribute. Moreover you have often enriched me with your gifts, and from these sources comes all that you see before you, for there is nothing here from the public treasures." And thus the king's mind was deceived.
   There was such a multitude of things that it took fifty wagons to carry the gold and silver and other ornaments. The Franks offered many gifts, some gold, others silver, many horses or garments; each gave such a gift as he could. Finally the girl said farewell after tears and kisses and when she was going out of the gate a wagon axle broke and all said: "Mala hora," which was taken by some as an augury. So she went forth from Paris and ordered the tents pitched at the eighth milestone from the city. And fifty men rose in the night and took a hundred of the best horses with golden bridles and two great chains and fled to king Childebert. Moreover along the whole way when any one could escape, he fled, taking whatever he could lay hands on. Abundant supplies at the expense of the different cities were gathered along the way; in this the king ordered that nothing should be taken from his own treasury but all from the contributions of the poor.. And as the king was suspicious that his brother or nephew would prepare some ambush against the girl on the way, he directed that she should be guarded by an army. Great warriors were with her, duke Bobo, Mummolinus's son, with his wife as attendant on the bride, Domigisel and Ansovald and the major­domo Waddo who had once been count of Saintes, and also about four thousand common soldiers. The rest of the dukes and chamberlains who started with her turned back at Poitiers. The others journeyed on as they could. And on this journey such spoils and booty were taken as can scarcely be described. For they robbed the huts of the poor, wasted the vineyards, cutting off the vines and carrying them away grapes and all, taking domestic animals and whatever they could come upon and leaving nothing along their road, and the words that were spoken through Joel the prophet were fulfilled, "That which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten, and that which the cankerworm hath left, hath the caterpillar eaten; and that which the caterpillar hath left, hath the palmer-worm eaten." This is what happened on this occasion. What was left by frost the storm destroyed, what was left by the storm the drought destroyed, and what was left by the drought the host carried away.
   46. While they continued on their way with this plunder, Chilperic, the Nero and Herod of our time, went to his villa of Chelles, about one hundred stades distant from Paris and there hunted. One day, returning from the hunt in the dusk, when he was dismounting from his horse and had one hand on a slave's shoulder a certain one came and stabbed him with a dagger under the armpit and repeating the blow pierced his belly. A flood of blood issued at once from his mouth and the open wounds and put his wicked soul to flight. The narrative before this shows how iniquitous he was. For he frequently laid great districts waste and burned them over, and experienced no pain in this but rather joy, like Nero before him when he recited tragedies as the palace burned. He often punished men unjustly because of their wealth. Very few clerics in his time reached the office of bishop. He was given over to gluttony and his belly was his god. He used to say that no one was wiser than he. He wrote two books on the model of Sedulius, but their feeble little verses can't stand on their feet at all, since for lack of understanding he put short syllables for long ones and long for short. He wrote pamphlets also and hymns and masses which can in no wise be received. He hated the causes of the poor. He was always blaspheming the bishops of the Lord, and when he was in retirement ha belittled and ridiculed no one more than the bishops of the churches. He called this one lightheaded, that one vain, another lavish, another wanton, another conceited, another pompous. He hated nothing more than churches. For he often used to say: "Behold our treasury has remained poor, behold our wealth has gone to the churches, no one reigns if not the bishops; our office will perish and be transferred to the bishops of the cities." Going on in this way he would always break wills that were made in favor of churches and he trampled under foot the last directions of his own father, thinking that there was no one left to require the execution of his will. As to lust and wantonness nothing can be found in thought that he did not realize in deed. And he was always looking for new devices to injure the people and of late years if he found any one guilty he would order his eyes torn out. And in the directions he sent to his judges to secure his own advantages he would add this: "If any one disregards our orders let him be punished by having his eyes torn out." He never loved any one sincerely and was loved by no one, and therefore when he died all his people deserted him. But Mallulf bishop of Senlis, who had been sitting in his tent three days and had been unable to see him, came when he heard he was killed, and washed him and put on better garments, and spent the night singing hymns, and took him in a boat and buried him in the church of St. Vincent which is at Paris, leaving queen Fredegunda in the cathedral.


[1] West of Marseille in Septimania
[2] The argument is continued at length along this line between the Jew on the one hand and Chilperic and Gregory on the other.