Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks


  1. Richared and his legates
  2. The blessed Radegunda's death
  3. The man who came to king Gunthram with a knife
  4. Another son is born to Childebert
  5. Prodigies
  6. They who led astray and soothsayers
  7. Removal from office of duke Ennodius; the Gascons
  8. The appearance at court of Gunthram Boso
  9. Rauching's death
  10. Gunthram Boso's death
  11. Meeting of the kings
  12. Death of Ursio and of Bertefred
  13. Baddo who had been kept prisoner when on an embassy and long after was set free; dysentary
  14. Reconciliation between bishop Egidius and duke Lupus
  15. Richared's conversion
  16. His embassy to our kings
  17. A hard year
  18. The Bretons and the death of bishop Namatius
  19. Killing of Sichar a citizen of Tours
  20. I am sent to king Gunthram on an embassy to maintain the peace
  21. The charities and goodness of the king
  22. The plague at Marseilles
  23. Death of bishop Ageric and his successor
  24. Episcopate of Fronimius
  25. Childebert's army goes into Italy
  26. Death of queen Ingoberga
  27. Amalo's death
  28. The beautiful things which queen Brunhilda sent
  29. The Lombards ask peace of king Childebert
  30. Assessors at Poitiers and Tours
  31. King Gunthram sends an army to Septimania
  32. Enmity between Childebert and Gunthram
  33. The nun Ingytrude goes to Childebert to make charges against her daughter
  34. Quarrels between Fredegunda and her daughter
  35. Killing of Waddo
  36. King Childebert sends Theodebert his son to Soissons
  37. Bishop Droctigisil
  38. What some wished to do to queen Brunhilda
  39. The scandal which arose in the convent of Poitiers through Chrodechild and Basina
  40. The first beginning of the scandal
  41. The fight in St. Hilarius's church
  42. Copy of the letter which the holy Radegunda sent to the bishops
  43. The priest Theuther comes to end this scandal
  44. The weather



   [1. Richared, the new king of Spain, sends legates to Gunthram and Childebert; they are not received by Gunthram. 2. Death of  Radegunda.]
   3. Meantime the festival of Saint Marcellus came, which is celebrated in the seventh month in the city of Chalon, and king Gunthram was present. And when the ceremony was over and he had approached the holy altar for the communion, a certain man came as if to say something. And as he hastened to the king a knife fell from his hand; he was seized at once and they found another knife unsheathed in his hand. He was immediately led from the holy church and put in fetters and subjected to torture, and he confessed that he had been sent to kill the king, saying, "This was the purpose of the man who sent me." Since the king knew that the hatred of many men was united on him and he feared that he would be stabbed, he had given orders to his men to guard him well and no opportunity could be found to get at him with swords unless he was attacked in the church, where he was known to stand without care or fear. Now the men who had been named were seized and many were executed, but he let this man go alive though severely beaten, because he thought it a crime that a man should be led out of church and beheaded.
   [4. A second son, Theodoric, is born to Childebert. 5. Prodigies. Among others a village with cottages and men disappeared suddenly.]
   6. There was in that year in the city of Tours a man named Desiderius who claimed to be great and said he could do many miracles. He boasted too that messengers were kept busy going to and fro between him and the apostles Peter and Paul. And as I was not at home, the common folk thronged to him bringing the blind and lame but he did not attempt to cure them by holiness but to fool them with the delusion of necromancy. For he ordered paralytics and other cripples to be vigorously stretched as if he were going to cure by taking pains those whose limbs he could not straighten by the blessing of the divine virtue. And so his attend ants would lay hold of a man's hands and others his feet, and pull in opposite directions so that one would think their sinews would be broken, and when they were not cured they would be sent off half­dead. And the result was that many died under this torture. And the wretch was so presumptuous that he said he was blessed Martin the younger and put himself on a par with the apostles. And it is no wonder that he compared himself with the apostles when that author of wickedness from whom such things proceed is going to assert toward the end of the world that he is Christ. Now it was known from the following fact that he was versed in the wicked art of necromancy as we have said above, because, as they say who observed him, when any one said any evil of him far away and secretly he would rebuke them publicly and say: "You said so and so about me and it was not right to say such things of a holy man like me." Now how else could he have learned of it except that demons were his messengers? He wore a hood and a goat's-hair shirt and in public he was abstemious in eating and drinking, but in secret when he had come to his lodgings he would stuff his mouth so that his servant could not carry food to him as fast as he asked for it. But his trickery was exposed and stopped by our people and he was cast out from the territory of the city. We did not know then where he went, but he said he was a citizen of Bordeaux. Now seven years before there had been another great impostor who deceived many by his tricks. He wore a sleeveless shirt and over it a robe of fine stuff and carried a cross from which hung little bottles which contained as he said holy oil. He said that he came from the Spains and was bringing relics of the blessed martyrs Vincent the deacon and Felix. He arrived at Tours at the church of Saint Martin in the evening when we were sitting at dinner, and sent an order saying: "Let them come to see the holy relics." As the hour was late I replied: "Let the blessed relics rest on the altar and we will go to see them in the morning." But he arose at the first break of day and without waiting for me came with his cross and appeared in my cell. I was amazed and wondered at his hardihood and asked what this meant. He answered in a proud and haughty voice: "You should have given me a better welcome; I'll carry this to the ears of king Chilperic; he will avenge this contemptuous treatment of me." He paid no more attention to me but went into the oratory and said a verse, then a second and a third, began the prayer and finished it, all by himself, then took up his cross again and went off. He had a rude style of speech and was free with disgusting and obscene terms and not a sensible word came from him. He went on to Paris. In those days the public prayers were being held that are usually held before the holy day of the Lord's ascension. And as bishop Ragnemod was walking in procession with his people and making the round of the holy places, this person came with his cross and appearing among the people with his unusual clothing, he gathered the prostitutes and women of the lower class and formed band of his own and made an attempt to walk in procession to the holy places with his multitude. The bishop saw this and sent his archdeacon to say: "If you have relics of the saints to show, place them for a little in the church and celebrate the holydays with us, and when the rites are finished you shall go on your way." But he paid little attention to what the archdeacon said but began to abuse and revile the bishop. The bishop saw that he was an impostor and ordered him shut up in a cell. And examining all he had, he found a great bag full of roots of different herbs and also there were moles' teeth, the bones of mice, the claws and fat of bears. He knew that these were the means of sorcery and ordered them all thrown into the river; he took his cross away and ordered him to be driven from the territory of Paris. But be made himself a second cross and began to do what he had done before, but was captured and put in chains by the archdeacon and kept in custody. In these days I had come to Paris and had my lodging at the church of the blessed martyr Julian. The following night the wretch broke out of prison and hastened to Saint Julian's Church just mentioned, wearing the chains with which he was bound, and fell on the pavement where I had been accustomed to stand and, overwhelmed with drowsiness and wine, he fell asleep. Unaware of this I rose at midnight to return thanks to God and found him sleeping. And such a stench came from him that that stench surpassed the stenches of all sewers and privies. I was unable to go into the church because of the stench. And one of the clergy came holding his nose and tried to wake him but could not; for the wretch was so intoxicated. Then four of the clergy came and lifted him and threw him into one corner of the church, and they brought water and washed the pavement and scattered sweet-smelling herbs on it and so I went in to offer the regular prayers. But he could not be wakened even when we sang the psalms until with the coming of day the sun's torch climbed higher. There, I surrendered him to the bishop with a request for his pardon. When the bishops assembled at Paris I told this at dinner and bade him be brought to receive correction. And when he stood by, Amelius, bishop of Tarbes, looked at him and recognized him as his slave who had run away. He secured his pardon and so took him back to his native place. There are many who practise these impostures and continually lead the common people into error. It is of these I think that the Lord says in the Gospel that in the latest times false Christs and false prophets shall arise who shall do signs and wonders and lead the very elect into error. Let this suffice for this subject; let us rather return to our task.
   [7. Ennodius, duke of Tours and Poitiers, is removed from office. The Gascons make an inroad on Frankish territory, and also the Goths. 8. Childebert desires to punish Gunthram Boso for the insults he had offered to Brunhilda during Childebert's minority. 9. Rauchingus, Ursio, and Bertefred, enemies of Brunhilda, plot Childebert's death. Rauchingus is trapped and brutally killed. Ursio and Bertefred take refuge in a stronghold.]
   10. While this was going on king Gunthram sent a second time to his nephew Childebert saying: "Let there be no delay; come, that I may see you. For it is surely necessary for your own life as well as for the public welfare that we see one another." Hearing this he took his mother, sister, and wife and hastened to meet his uncle. Bishop Magneric of the city of Trèves was present also, and Gunthram Boso came, whom bishop Ageric of Verdun had received in custody. But the bishop who had pledged his faith for him was not present, because the agreement was that he should appear before the king without any defender so that if the king decided that he must die he was not to be begged off by the bishop; and if the king granted him life he would go free. Now the kings met and he was judged guilty on various grounds and was ordered to be put to death. When he learned it he flew to Magneric's lodging and shutting the doors and sending the clerks and attendants away he said: "Most blessed bishop, I know that you have great honor with the kings. And now I flee to you to be rescued. Behold, the executioners are at the door, whence you may plainly know that if you do not save me I shall kill you and go outside and die. Let me tell you plainly that either one death overtakes us or an equal life shall protect us. O holy bishop, I know that you share with the king the place of father to his son [1] and I am sure that whatever you ask you will obtain from him; he will not be able to deny your holiness anything you demand. Therefore either obtain my pardon or we shall die together." He said this with his sword unsheathed. The bishop was alarmed at what he heard and said: "And how can I do it if I am kept here by you. Let me go to beg the king's mercy and perhaps he will pity you." But replied: "By no means, but send abbots and men you trust to carry the message I propose." However, these matters were not reported as they were to the king, but they said that he was being protected by the bishop. And so the king was angry and said: "If the bishop refuses to come out let him die together with that doer of wickedness." The bishop when he was told this sent messengers to the king. And when they had told their story king Gynthram said: "Set fire to the house and if the bishop cannot come out let them be burned together." The clerks on hearing this burst open the door by force and got the bishop out. Then when the wretch saw that he was hemmed in by great flames on every side he approached the door with his sword. But as soon as he left the threshold and set foot outside at once one of the people threw a lance and struck his forehead. He was confused by this stroke and lost his head and tried to throw his sword but he was wounded by the bystanders with such a multitude of lances that with the heads sticking in his body and the shafts supporting him was unable to fall to the earth. A few who were with him were killed and exposed on the field at the same time. And permission to bury them was obtained from the princes only with difficulty. This man was faithless, headlong in avarice, greedy for other men's property beyond limit, swearing to all and fulfilling his promises to none. His wife and sons were sent into exile and his property confiscated. A great quantity of gold and silver and of valuables of different sorts was found in his stores. Moreover what he had concealed underground from a consciousness of wrongdoing did not remain hidden. He often made use of soothsayers and lots, desiring to learn the future from them, but was always deceived.
   [11. Gunthram and Childebert settle their differences amicably. 12. Ursio and Bertefred are dislodged from their stronghold and slain. 13. Baddo is allowed to go free. Dysentery is severe in Metz. Wiliulf's wife marries a third time. 14. Bishop Egidius of Rheims makes his peace with Childebert.]
   15. Now at that time in Spain king Richared was influenced by the divine mercy and summoned the bishops of his religion and said to them: "Why are quarrels continually going on between you and the bishops who call themselves Catholic, ­ and when they do many miracles by their faith why can you do nothing of the sort? Therefore I beg you let us meet with them and examine the beliefs of both sides and find out what is true; and then either let them take our plan and believe what you say or else you recognize their truth and believe what they preach." This was done and the bishops of both sides gathered and the heretics expounded the doctrines that I have often described them as advocating. Likewise the bishops of our religion made the replies by which, as I have pointed out in the previous books, the heretics have been of ten defeated. And above all the king said that no miraculous cure of the infirm had been done by the bishops of the heretics, aid when he recalled to mind how in his father's time the bishop who boasted that he could restore sight to the blind by his faith which was not the true one had touched a blind man and [thus] condemned him to perpetual blindness and had come off in confusion ­ I have told this story more fully in the book of The Miracles­ he summoned God's bishops to him separately. And by questioning then, he learned that it was one God that was worshiped with distinction of three persons, namely, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the Son was not inferior to the Father nor the Holy Ghost, nor the Holy Ghost inferior to the Father nor the Son, but they were equal and alike all-powerful, and in this Trinity they confessed the true God. Then Richared perceived the truth and ending the argument he placed himself under the Catholic law, and receiving the sign of the blessed cross together with baptism he believed in Jesus Christ son of God, equal to the Father and the Holy Ghost, reigning for ages of ages. Amen. Then he sent messengers to the province of Narbonne to tell what he had done and bring the people to a like belief. The bishop of the Arian sect there at the time was Athalocus who caused such trouble to God's churches by his vain doctrines and false interpretations of the Scriptures that he was believed to be the very Arius who, as the historian Eusebius relates, lost his entrails in a privy. But when he did not allow the people of his sect to believe these things and only a few flattered him by agreeing with him he was transported with spite and went to his cell and laid his head on the bed and breathed out his worthless soul. And thus the heretics in the province confessed the inseparable Trinity and departed from error.
   [16. King Richared sends an embassy to Gunthram and Childebert. It is not received by Gunthram. 17. An unusually cold spring. 18. The Bretons ravage the territory of Nantes.]
   19. The feud among the citizens of Tours which, as we have stated above, was ended, burst out again with renewed fury. After slaying Chramsind's kinsmen Sichar had become very friendly with him, and they loved one another so dearly that they often ate together and slept together in one bed. Once Chramsind made ready a dinner towards night and invited Sichar. He came and they sat down together to dinner. And Sichar became drunk with wine and made many boasts to Chramsind, and he is reported to have said at last: "Dearest brother, you owe me great gratitude for killing your kinsmen since you got payment for them and you have much gold and silver in your house, and if that payment had not given you a start you would now be naked and in need." But Chramsind heard Sichar's word with a bitter heart and said within himself: "Unless I avenge my kinsmen's death I ought to lose the name of man and be called a weak woman." And at once he exinguished the lights and plunged his dagger into Sichar's head. Sichar made a little cry and immediately fell and died. The attendants who had come with him rushed away. Chramsind stripped the garments from his lifeless body and hung it on a picket of the fence and mounted his horse and went to the king. He entered the church and threw himself at the king's feet and said: "I beg for my life, O glorious king, because I have killed men who slew my kinsmen secretly and plundered all their property." But when the case was gone into in detail queen Brunhilda was displeased that Sichar, who was under her protection, had been killed in such a way, and she became angry at Chramsind. When he saw that she was against him he went to Bouges, a village in the territory of Bourges where his kinsmen lived, because it was in Gunthram's kingdom. And Tranquilla, Sichar's wife, left her sons and her husband's property in Tours and Poitiers and went to her kinsmen at Pont­sur­Seine and there married again. Sichar was twenty years old when he died. He was in his lifetime a fickle, drunken, murderous person, who offered insults to many when he was drunk. Later Chramsind returned to the king and it was decided that he must prove that Sichar had killed his kinsmen. This he did. But since queen Brunhilda had placed Sichar under her protection, as we have said, she ordered Chramsind's property to be confiscated. But later it was returned by the court official Flavian. In addition he went to Agen and got a letter from Flavian directing that no one should touch him. Flavian had received his property from the queen.
   20. In that year, which was also the thirteenth of king Childebert, I went to visit him at the city of Metz, and received orders to go on an embassy to king Gunthram. I found him at Chalon and said: "O famous king, your glorious nephew Childebert sends you many greetings and offers endless thanks to your goodness because he is continually reminded by you to do the things that please God and are acceptable to you and of advantage to the people. As regards the matters of which you spoke together he promises to fulfil everything and engages not to break any of the agreements which are made in writing between you." And the king said to this: "I do not offer him like thanks, because his promises to me are being broken. My part of Senlis is not surrendered; the men whom I wished to go for my good, since they are my enemies, they have not let go. And in what sense do you mean that my sweet nephew does not wish to break any of his written agreements?" To this I answered: "He wishes to do nothing contrary to those agreements but promises to fulfil them all, so that if you wish to send [men] to divide Senlis there need be no delay; for you shall receive your own at once. And as to the men you mention let their names be given in writing and all that is promised shall be fulfilled." We spoke of these matters and the king ordered the agreement itself to be read over again in the presence of the bystanders.
   Copy of the Agreement.
   When the most excellent lords, kings Gunthram and Childebert, and the most glorious lady queen Brunhilda met lovingly in Christ's name at Andelot to arrange with full counsel whatever might in any way cause a quarrel among them, it was affectionately settled, resolved upon and agreed between them by the mediation of the bishops and chief men and the help of God, that as long as all-powerful God wished them to live in the present world they ought to keep faith and affection pure and undefiled for each other. In the same way since lord Gunthram in accordance with the agreement which he had entered into with lord Sigibert of good memory, claimed that the whole share which Sigibert had received from Charibert's kingdom belonged entirely to him and [since] the party of lord Childebert wished to claim from all what his father had possessed, it is definitely and deliberately agreed between them that the third of the city of Paris with its territory and people which had gone to lord Sigibert from Charibert's kingdom by written agreement, with the castles of Châteaudun and Vendôme and whatever the said king received of the district of Étampes and the territory of Chartres in that direction, with their lands and people, were to remain perpetually under the authority and rule of lord Gunthram, with that which he held before from Charibert's kingdom while lord Sigibert was alive. In like manner king Childebert asserts his right from the present to Meaux and to two­thirds of Senlis, Tours, Poitiers, Avranches, Aire, Saint Lizier, Bayonne, and Albi with their territories. The condition being observed that he of these kings whom the Lord wills to survive shall have a perpetual right to the whole kingdom of him who goes from the light of the present world without children, and by God's aid shall leave it to his descendants. It is especially agreed upon to be in every way inviolably observed that whatever the lord king Gunthram has given or by God's favor shall give to his daughter Clodechild in goods and men, both cities, lands, and revenues, shall remain under her ownership and control. And if she wishes of her own free will to dispose of lands belonging to the fisc or valuable articles or money, or to bestow them on any one, let it be kept with a good title forever and not be taken from any one at any time, and let her be under the protection and defense of lord Childebert, since she ought to possess in all honor and security everything that he finds her in possession of at her father's death. Likewise the lord king Gunthram promises that if in the uncertainty of human life lord Childebert should happen to pass from the light while he is living, ­ may the divine goodness not allow it and Gunthram does not wish to see it ­ he will receive under his protection and guardianship like a good father Childebert's sons Theodobert and Theodoric and any others that God wishes to give him, so that they shall possess their father's kingdom in all security; and he will receive under his protection with a spiritual love lord Childebert's mother, queen Brunhilda, and her daughter Clodosind, sister of king Childebert, while she is in the country of the Franks, and his queen Faileuba like a good sister and daughters, and they shall possess all their property in all honor and dignity with peace and security, namely, cities, lands, revenues, and all rights, and every kind of property, both what they actually possess at the present time and what they are able justly to acquire in the future by Christ's aid, and if they wish to dispose of any of the lands of the fisc or articles or money of their own free will, or to present them to any one, let it be kept with a good title forever, and let their will in this respect not be disregarded by any one at any time. And as to the cities, namely, Bordeaux, Limoges, Cahors, Lescar, and Cieutat, which it is well known that Galsuntha, lady Brunhilda's sister, acquired as dowry or morganegyba, that is, morning gift, when she came into Francia, and which lady Brunhilda is known to have acquired by the decision of the glorious lord king Gunthram and of the Franks when Chilperic and king Sigibert were still alive, it is agreed that the lady Brunhilda shall have as her property from today the city of Cahors with its lands and all its people, but the other cities named lord Gunthram shall hold while he lives, on condition that after his death they shall pass by God's favor with every security under the control of the lady Brunhilda and her heirs, but while lord Gunthram lives they shall not at any time or on any pretext be claimed by lady Brunhilda or her son king Childebert or his sons. In the same way it is agreed that lord Childebert shall hold Senlis in entirety, and as far as the third therein due to lord Gunthram is concerned he shall be compensated by the third belonging to lord Childebert which is in Ressons. Likewise it is agreed that according to the agreements entered into between lord Gunthram and lord Sigibert of blessed memory, the leudes who originally took oath to lord Gunthram after the death of lord Clothar, if afterwards they are proved to have gone to the other side, shall be removed from the places where they are dwelling, and in the same manner those who after the death of king Clothar are found guilty of having first sworn allegiance to lord Sigibert and then have passed to the other side shall be removed likewise. Also whatever the kings mentioned have given to churches or to their followers, or in future by God's favor wish to give in accordance with justice, shall be held securely. And whatever is due to any one of their men in either kingdom according to law and justice, he shall not suffer any prejudice, but shall be permitted to take and hold what is due him; and if anything is taken from anyone without fault on his part in an interregnum, a hearing shall be held and it shall be restored. And as regards that which each owned through the generosity of previous kings down to the death of lord king Clothar of glorious memory, let him keep it in security. And whatever has been taken since that from persons who are faithful let them receive it back at once. And since a pure and untainted friendship has been formed in God's name between the kings mentioned, it is agreed that passage shall at no time be denied in either kingdom to the men of either king who wish to travel on public or private business. It is likewise agreed that neither shall entice away the others leudes or receive them when they come. And if perhaps one thinks that because of some act he has to flee to the other part, let him be excused in regard to the nature of the fault and sent back. It has been decided also to add this to the agreement, that if either party shall at any time transgress the present statute under some clever interpretation, he shall lose all the benefits both prospective and present, and it shall turn to the advantage of him, who faithfully observes all that is written above, and he shall be freed in all details from the obligation of his oath. All these matters having been definitely agreed upon, the parties swear by the name of all-powerful God and the inseparable Trinity and all that is divine and the awful day of judgment that they will faithfully observe all that is written above without any fraud or deceit. This, compact was made four days before the Kalends of December in the twenty­sixth year of the reign of the lord king Gunthram and in the twelfth year of lord Childebert.
   When the agreement was read over the king said: "May I be struck by the judgment of God if I transgress in any one of the matters contained here." And he turned to the legate Felix who had come with us and said: "Tell me, Felix, have you established a close friendship between my sister Brunhilda and Fredegunda the enemy of God and man?" When he replied "no" I said: "Let the king be sure that the friendship is being kept up between them as it was started many years ago. For you may be certain that the hatred that was once established between them is alive yet, it has not withered up. I wish you, most glorious king, would have less friendship for her. For as we often learn, you receive her embassies with greater state than ours." He answered: "Let me tell you, bishop of God, that I receive her embassies in such a way as not to lose the affection of my nephew king Childebert. For I cannot be friendly with one who has often sent to take my life." Upon this Felix said: "I suppose it has come to your greatness that Richared has sent an embassy to your nephew to ask for your niece Clodosinda, your brother's daughter, in marriage. But he was unwilling to make any promise without your advice." The king said: "It is not well for my niece to go to a place where her sister was killed. I am not at all pleased that the death of my niece Ingunda is not avenged." Felix replied: "They are very anxious to set themselves right either by oath or on any other terms you suggest; but only give your consent for Clotosinda to be betrothed to him as he requests." The king said: "If my nephew keeps the agreements that he bound himself to in the compact I will do his will in this matter." We promised that he would fulfil all and Felix added: "He begs your goodness to give him help against the Lombards so that they may be driven from Italy and the part which his father claimed when alive may return to him, and the other part be restored by your and his aid to the dominion of the emperor." The king replied: "I cannot send my army to Italy and expose the soldiers to death uselessly. For a very severe plague is now wasting Italy." And I said: "You have told your nephew to have all the bishops of his kingdom meet together since there are many things to be decided. But it was the opinion of your glorious nephew that each metropolitan according to the custom of the canons should meet with his provincials, and then what went wrong in each district would be set right by order of the bishops. For what reason is there that so great a number should assemble? The faith of the church is not attacked by any danger; no new heresy is appearing. What need will there be for so many bishops to meet together?" And he said: "There is much to be looked into that has gone wrong, both acts of incest and matters which are in discussion between us. But the most important case of all is that of God, since you must investigate why bishop Praetextatus was slain by the sword in his church. Moreover there ought to be an examination of those who are accused of wantonness so that if found guilty they can be corrected by the bishops' sentence, or if they prove innocent that the falsity of the charge can be publicly recognized." Then he gave orders for the synod to be adjourned to the Kalends of the fourth month. [2] After this conversation we went to church; it was the day of the anniversary of the Lord's resurrection. After mass he invited us to a dinner which was as abundant in dishes as rich in cheer. For the king talked always of God, building churches and helping the poor, and then he made pious jokes and to please us he went on to say this: "I hope my nephew will keep his promises; for all I have is his. Still, if he is disturbed because I receive my nephew Clothar's legates, I'm not so mad, am I, but that I can mediate between them and keep the trouble from going further? I know it is better to cut it short than to carry it too far. If I decide that Clothar is my nephew I will give him two or three cities in some part, so that he not seem to be disinherited, and what I leave to Childebert will not then disquiet him." After this talk he bade us go on our way, treating us affectionately and loading us with gifts, and telling us always to give king Childebert good advice to live by.
   21. The king himself, as we have often said, was great in almsgiving and unwearied in watches and fasting. It was told at the time that Marseilles was suffering greatly from the bubonic plague and that the disease had spread swiftly as far as the village in the country of Lyons called Octavus. But the king like a good bishop was for providing remedies by which the wounds of the sinful people could be cured, and ordered all to assemble at the church and engage devoutly in prayer. He directed that nothing else than barley bread and clean water should be taken in the way of food and that all without intermission should keep watch. And this was done and for three days he gave alms with more than usual generosity and he showed such fear for all the people that he was now believed to be not merely a king but a bishop of God, placing all his hope in God's mercy, and in the purity of his faith turning all his thoughts to him by whom he believed that these thoughts could be given effect. It was then commonly told among the faithful that a woman whose son was suffering from a four­day fever and was lying in bed very ill, approached the king's back in the throng of people and secretly broke off the fringe of the royal garment and put it in water and gave to her son to drink, and at once the fever die down and he was cured. I do not regard this as doubtful since I have myself heard persons possessed by demons in their furies call on his name and admit their ill deeds, recognizing his power.
   22. Since we have told above that the city of Marseilles was sick with a deadly plague it seems suitable to give more details of what the city suffered. In these days bishop Theodore had gone to the king to speak to him against the patrician Nicetius. But when he got no hearing from king Childebert on this matter he made ready to return home. Meantime a ship from Spain put in at the port with its usual wares and unhappily brought the seed of this disease. And many citizens bought various merchandise from her, and one household in which were eight souls was quickly left vacant, its inmates all dying of this plague. But the fire of the plague did not at once spread through all the houses, but after a definite time like a fire in standing grain it swept the whole city with the flame of disease. However the bishop went to the city and shut himself within the walls of St. Victor's church with the few who then remained with him, and there devoted himself to prayer and watching while the people of the city perished, praying for God's mercy that the deaths might at length cease and the people be allowed to rest in peace. The plague passed away in two months, and when the people, now reassured, had returned to the city the disease came on again and they who returned perished. Later on the city was many times attacked by this death.
   [23. Ageric, bishop of Verdun, dies of chagrin because Gunthram Boso, whose safety he had pledged, had been killed, and because Bertefred had been killed in his oratory. 24. Phronius the new bishop, of Vence. 25. Childebert makes war on the Lombards and suffers a defeat "the like of which in former times is not recalled." 26. Gregory assists queen Ingoberga in making her will.]
   27. Duke Amalo sent his wife to another estate to attend to his interests, and fell in love with a certain free-born girl. And hen it was night and Amalo was drunk with wine he sent his men to seize the girl and bring her to his bed. She resisted and they brought her by force to his house, slapping her, and she was stained by a torrent of blood that ran from her nose. And even the bed of the duke mentioned above was made bloody by the stream. And he beat her, too, striking with his fists and cuffing her and beating her otherwise, and took her in his arms, but he was immediately overwhelmed with drowsiness and went to sleep. And she reached her hand over the man's head and found his sword and drew it, and like Judith Holofernes struck the duke's head a powerful blow. He cried out and his slaves came quickly. But when they wished to kill her he called out saying: "I beg you do not do it for it was I who did wrong in attempting to violate her chastity. Let her not perish for striving to keep her honor." Saying this he died. And while the household was assembled weeping over him the girl escaped from the house by God's help and went in the night to the city of Chalon about thirty­five miles away; and there she entered the church of Saint Marcellus and threw herself at the king's feet and told all she had endured. Then the king was merciful and not only gave her her life but commanded that an order be given that she should be placed under his protection and should not suffer harm from any kinsman of the dead man. Moreover we know that by God's help the girl's chastity was not in any way violated by her savage ravisher.
   [28. Brunhilda's messenger to the Spanish king is detained by Gunthram. 29. Childebert sends an army against the Lombards.]
   30. King Childebert at the invitation of Bishop Maroveus sent assessors to Poitiers, namely, Florientian, the queen's majordomo, and Romulf, count of the palace, to make new tax lists in order that the people might pay the taxes they had paid in his father's time. For many of them were dead and the weight of the tribute came on widows and orphans and the weak. And they made an orderly examination and released the poor and sick and subjected to the public tax those who should justly pay. And so they came to Tours. But when they wished to impose the payment of taxes on the people, saying they had the book in their hands, showing how they had paid in the time of previous kings, I answered saying: "It is well known that the city of Tours was assessed in the time of king Clothar and those books were taken to the presence of the king, but the king was stricken with fear of the holy bishop Martin and they were burned. After king Clotbar's death this people swore allegiance to king Charibert and he likewise swore that he would not impose new laws or customs on the people but would thereafter maintain them in the status in which they lived in his father's reign, and he promised that he would not impose any new ordinance which would tend to despoil them. And count Gaiso in the same time began to exact tribute, following a capitulary which we have said was written at a more ancient time. But being stopped by bishop Euphronius he went with the little he had collected to the king's presence and pointed to the capitulary in which the tributes were contained. But the king uttered a groan and fearing the power of Saint Martin he had it burned, and sent back the gold coins that had been collected to the church of Saint Martin, asserting that no one of the people of Tours should pay tribute. After his death king Sigibert ruled this city and did not lay upon it the weight of any tribute. Moreover in the fourteen years of his reign from his father's death up to now Childebert has demanded nothing, and this city has not groaned with the burden of tribute. It is now for your decision whether to assess tribute or not; but be careful lest you do some harm if you plan to go against his oath." When I had said this they answered: "Behold, we have the book in our hands in which a tax was imposed on this people." But I said: "This book was not brought from the king's treasury and it has had no authority for many years. It is no wonder, considering the enmities among these citizens, if it has been kept in some one's house. God will give judgment on those who have brought out this book after so long a time to despoil our citizens." And while this was going on the son of Audinus, who had brought out the book, was seized with a fever on the very day and died three days after. We then sent messengers to the king asking him to send his commands on this matter. And they at once sent a letter ordering that out of respect for Saint Martin the people of Tours should not be assessed. Upon receipt of the letter the men who had come for this purpose returned home.
   [31. An expedition of king Gunthrarn against Septimania is defeated. 32. Misunderstanding between Childebert and Gunthram. 33. Quarrel between Ingytrude, head of the convent within St. Martin's walls, and her daughter.]
   34. Rigunda, daughter of Chilperic, often made malicious charges against her mother and said that she was mistress and that her mother ought to serve her, and often attacked her with abuse and sometimes struck and slapped her, and her mother said to her: "Why do you annoy me, daughter? Come, take your father's things that I have and do as you please with them." And she went into the store­room and opened a chest quite full of necklaces and costly jewels. For a long time she took them out one by one and handed them to her daughter but finally said: "I am tired; you put in your hand and take what you find." And she thrust in her arm and was taking things from the chest when her mother seized the lid and slammed it down on her head. And she was holding it down firmly and the lower board was pressing against her daughter's throat so that her eyes were actually ready to pop out when one of the maids who was within called loudly: "Run, I beg you, run; my mistress is being choked to death by her mother." And those who were awaiting their coming outside rushed into the little room and saved the girl from threatening death and led her out. After that their enmity was more bitter and there were continual quarrels and fighting between them, above all because of the adulteries Rigunda was guilty of.
   35. Beretrude, when dying, appointed her daughter heir, leaving certain property to the nunneries she had founded and to the cathedrals and churches of the holy confessors. But Waddo, whom we mentioned in a former book, complained that his horses ,had been taken by her son­in­law, and he proposed to go to an estate of hers which she had left to her daughter and which was within the territory of Poitiers, saying: "He came from another kingdom and took my horses and I will take his estate." Meantime he sent orders to the bailiff that he was coming and to make everything ready for his use. The bailiff on hearing this gathered all the household and got ready to fight, saying: "Unless I'm killed Waddo shall not enter my master's house." Waddo's wife heard that warlike preparations were being made against her husband, and she said to him: "Do not go there, dear husband; for you will be killed if you go and my children and I will be miserable." And she laid hold of him and wished to detain him, and her son also said: " If you go, we will be killed together and you will leave my mother a widow and my brothers orphans." But these words altogether failed to hold him back and he was enflamed with madness at his son, and calling him cowardly and soft he threw his ax and almost crushed his skull. But the son dashed it partly aside and escaped the stroke. Then they mounted their horses and went off, sending word again to the bailiff to sweep the house and spread covers on the benches. But he paid little attention to the order and stood with his throngs of men and women before his master's door, as we have said, awaiting Waddo's coming. He came and at once entered the house and said: "Why are these benches not spread with covers and the house swept?" And he raised his hand with his dagger in it and struck the man's head and he fell and died. Upon seeing this the dead man's son hurled his lance from in front against Waddo and pierced the middle of his belly with the blow, and the spear­head came out of his back and he fell to the ground, and the multitude which had gathered drew near and began to stone him. Then certain of those who had come with him rushed up amid the showers of stones and covered him with a cloak and the people were calmed, and his son, uttering mournful cries, got him upon his horse and took him back home still living. But he died soon amid the laments of his wife and sons. And so his life was unhappily ended and his son went to the king and obtained his property.
   [36. King Childebert sends his son Theodobert to represent him in Soissons. 37. Bishop Droctigisil goes insane from excessive drinking or because evil arts had been practiced on him. 38. A plot against Brunhilda and Childebert's wife. 39-43. The story in detail of the secession of forty nuns from the convert at Poitiers, with documents involved in the case. 44. The weather.]



[1] Godfather
[2] June