Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks


  1. The sons of Clovis
  2. Episcopates of Dinifius, Apollinaris and Quintian
  3. The Danes make an attack on the Gauls
  4. The kings of the Thuringi
  5. Sigimund kills his own son
  6. Death of Chlodomer
  7. War with the Thuringi
  8. Hermenfled's death
  9. Childebert visits Auvergne
  10. Amalaric's death
  11. Childebert and Clothar go to the Burgundies, Theodoric to Auvergne
  12. Devastation of Auvergne
  13. Lovolautrum and Chastel-Marlhac
  14. Munderic's death
  15. Captivity of Attalus
  16. Sigivald
  17. The bishops of Tours
  18. Death of Chlodomer's sons
  19. The holy Gregory and the site of Dijon
  20. Theodobert is betrothed to Visigard
  21. Theodobert departs for Provence
  22. He later marries Deoteria
  23. Sigivald's death
  24. Childebert makes gifts to Theodobert
  25. Theodobert's goodness
  26. Death of Deoteria's daughter
  27. Theodobert marries Visigard
  28. Childebert and Theodobert march against Clothar
  29. Childebert and Clothar march into the Spains
  30. The Spanish kings
  31. The daughter of Theodoric, king of Itlay
  32. Theodobert marches into Italy
  33. Asteriolus and Secundinus
  34. Theodobert's gift to the citizens of Verdun
  35. Sirivald's death
  36. Theodobert's death and the slaying of Parthenius
  37. A severe winter


   I wish, if it is agreeable, to make a brief comparison of the successes that have come to Christians who confess the blessed Trinity and the ruin which has come to heretics who have tried to destroy the same. And let us omit how Abraham worshipped the Trinity at the oak, [1] and Jacob preached it in his blessing, and Moses recognized it in the bush, and the people followed it in the cloud and dreaded the same in the mountain, and how Aaron carried it on his breastplate, or how David made it known in the Psalms, praying to be made new by a right spirit and that the holy spirit should not be taken from him and that he be comforted by the chief spirit. And, for my part, I consider this a great mystery, namely that the voice of the prophet proclaimed as the chief spirit that which the heretics assert to be the lesser. But passing over these, as we have said, let us return to our times. For Arius, who was the first wicked inventor of this wicked sect, was subjected to infernal fires after he had lost his entrails in a privy. But Hilarius, the blessed defender of the undivided Trinity, though sent into exile for its sake, was restored both to his native land and to Paradise. King Clovis confessed it, and crushed the heretics by its aid and extended his kingdom over all the Gauls; Alaric, on the other hand, who denied it, was deprived of kingdom and people, and what is more, of eternal life itself. And to true believers, even if through the plots of the enemy they lose something, the Lord restores it a hundred fold, but heretics do not gain any advantage, but what they seem to have is taken from them. This is proved by the deaths of Godegisel, Gundobad, and Godomar, who at the same time lost their country and their souls. But we confess one God, invisible, [2] infinite, incomprehensible, glorious, always the same, and everlasting, one in Trinity in respect to the number of persons, that is, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; we confess him also triple in unity in respect to equality of substance deity, omnipotence or power, the one greatest omnipotent God ruling for eternal centuries.
   1. Now on the death of king Clovis, his four sons, namely, Theodoric, Chlodomer, Childebert and Chlothar, received his kingdom and divided it among them in equal parts. Theodoric had already at that time a handsome and valiant son named Theodobert. And since they were very brave and had abundant strength in their army, Amalaric, son of Alaric, king of Spain, asked for their sister in marriage, and they kindly granted his request, and sent her into the Spanish country with a great quantity of beautiful things.
   [2. Quintianus, ex­bishop of Rodez, is rewarded for his faithfulness to the Franks by being made bishop of Clermont. 3. The Danes plunder the coast of Theodoric's kingdom. 4. Hermenfred becomes sole king of the Thuringi by Theodoric's help.]
   5. Now on Gundobad's death his son Sygismund held his kingdom, and he built with great skill the monastery of St. Maurice, with its dwellings and churches. And losing his first wife, the daughter of Theodoric, king of Italy, he married another, and she began to malign his son bitterly and make charges against him as is the custom of stepmothers. From this it came about that on a day of ceremonial when the boy recognized his mother's dress on her, he was filled with anger, and said to her: "You are not worthy to have on your back those garments which are known to have belonged to your mistress, that is, my mother." And she was set on fire with rage and she stirred her husband up with crafty words, saying: "The wicked boy wishes to possess your kingdom, and he plans when you are killed to extend it as far as Italy, forsooth, that he may possess the kingdom which his grandfather Theodoric held in Italy. For he knows that while you live he cannot accomplish this; and unless you fall he will not rise." Sygismund was aroused by these words, and taking the advice of his wicked wife he became a wicked parricide. For when his son had been made drowsy by wine he bade him sleep in the afternoon; and while he slept a napkin was placed under his neck and tied under his chin, and he was strangled by two servants who drew in opposite directions. When it was done the father repented too late, and falling on the lifeless corpse began to weep most bitterly. And a certain old man is reported to have spoken to him in these words: " Henceforth wail for yourself," said he, "that you have become a most cruel parricide through base counsel. For there is no need to wail for this innocent boy who has been strangled." Nevertheless he went off to the holy Saint Maurice and spending many days in weeping and fasting he prayed for pardon. After establishing there a perpetual service of song he returned to Lyons, the divine vengeance attending on his footsteps. King Theodoric had married his daughter.
   6. Queen Clotilda spoke to Chlodomer and her other sons, saying: "Let me not repent, dearest sons, that I have nursed you lovingly; be angry, I beg you, at the insult to me, and avenge with a wise zeal the death of my father and mother." They heeded this; and they hastened to the Burgundies and marched against Sygismund and his brother Godomar. Their army was completely routed and Godomar fled. But Sygismund was taken by Chlodomer when he was endeavoring to make his escape to the holy St. Maurice, and led away captive with his wife and sons, and was placed under guard and kept prisoner in the territory of the city of Orleans. When the kings `departed Godomar recovered his courage and gathered the Burgundians and gained his kingdom back. And Chlodomer was making preparations to march against him a second time and determined to kill Sygismund. And the blessed abbot Avitus, a great priest of that time, said to him: "If," said he, "you would look to God and amend your counsel so as not to allow these men to be killed, God will be with you and you shall go and win the victory; but if you kill them you shall be surrendered yourself into the hands of your enemies and shall perish in the same way. And what you do to Sygismund and his wife and children shall be done to you and your wife and sons." But he despised listening to this counsel, and said: "I think it is foolish advice to leave enemies at home and march against the rest, and when the former rise up in the rear and the latter in front I shall fall between two armies. The victory will be won better and more easily if one is separated from the other; if one is slain it will be possible to doom the others to death easily." He gave orders to slay Sygismund at once, with his wife and children, by casting them into a well in the village Columna, of the city Orleans, and hastened to the Burgundies, summoning to his aid king Theodoric. And the latter promised to go, not caring to avenge the wrong done to his father­in­law. And when they met near Visorontia, a place of the city of Vienne, they fought with Godomar And when Godomar had fled with his army and Chlodomer was pursuing and was separated a considerable distance from his men, the others, imitating his rallying cry, called to him saying: "This way, come this way, we are your men." And he believed it and went, and fell in the midst of his enemies cutting off his head and setting it on a pike they raised it aloft. The Franks saw this and perceived that Chlodomer was dead, and rallying, they put Godomar to flight and crushed the Burgundians and reduced their country to subjection, and Clothar immediately married his brother's wife, Guntheuca by name. And queen Clotilda, after the period of mourning was past, took his sons and kept them; and one of these was called Theodoald, a second, Gunther, a third, Chlodovald. Godomar recovered his kingdom a second time.
   7. Afterward Theodoric, remembering the wrongs done by Hermenfred, king of the Thuringi, called his brother Clothar to his aid and prepared to march against him, promising that a share of the plunder should be given to king Clothar, if by God's help the gift of victory should come to them. So he called the Franks together and said to them: "Be angry, I beg of you, both because of my wrong and because of the death of your kinsmen, and recollect that the Thuringi once made a violent attack upon our kinsmen and inflicted much harm on them. And they gave hostages and were willing to conclude peace with them, but the Thuringi slew the hostages with various tortures, and made an attack upon our kinsmen, took away all their property, and hung youths by the sinews of their thighs to trees, and cruelly killed more than two hundred maidens, tying them by their arms to the necks of horses, which were then headed in opposite directions, and being started by a very sharp goad tore the maidens to pieces. And others were stretched out upon the city streets and stakes were planted in the ground, and they caused loaded wagons to pass over them, and having broken their bones they gave them to dogs and birds for food. And now Hermenfred has deceived me in what he promised, and refuses to perform it at all. Behold, we have a plain word. Let us go with God's aid against them." They heard this and were angry at such a wrong, and with heart and mind they attacked Thuringia. And Theodoric took his brother Clothar and his son Theodobert to help him and went with his army. And the Thuringi prepared stratagems against the coming of the Franks. For they dug pits in the plain where the fight was to take place, and covering the openings with thick turf they made it seem a level plain. So when they began to fight, many of the Frankish horsemen fell into these pits and it was a great obstacle to them, but when this stratagem was perceived they began to be on their guard. When finally the Thuringi saw that they were being fiercely cut to pieces and when their king Hermenfred had taken to flight, they turned their backs and came to the stream Unstrut. And there such a slaughter of the Thuringi took place that the bed of the stream was filled with heaps of corpses, and the Franks crossed upon them as if on a bridge to the further shore. The victory being won they took possession of that country and brought it under their control. And Clothar went back, taking with him as a captive Radegunda, daughter of king Berthar, and he married her, and her brother he afterwards killed unjustly by the hands of wicked men. She also turned to God, changing her garments, and built a monastery for herself in the city of Poitiers. And being remarkable for prayer, fasting and charity, she attained such fame that she was considered great by the people. And when the kings who have been mentioned were still in Thuringia, Theodoric wished to kill his own brother Clothar, and preparing armed men secretly, he summoned him on the pretext that he wished to consult him privately. And stretching a tent­cloth in one part of the house from one wall to the other, he ordered the armed men to stand behind it. And since the cloth was somewhat short the feet of the armed men were in full sight. Clothar learned of this, and came into the house with his men armed also. And Theodoric perceived that he had learned of these things and he made a pretence, and talked of one thing after another. Finally, not knowing how to put a good appearance on his stratagem, he gave him as a favor a great silver dish. And Clothar said good­by and thanked him for the gift and returned to his place of encampment. But Theodoric complained to his people that he had lost his dish for no evident reason, and he said to his son Theodobert: "Go to your uncle and ask him to give you of his own free will the gift I gave him." He went, and got what he asked for. In such stratagems Theodoric was very skilful.
   8. He returned to his own country and urged Hermenfred to come to him boldly, pledging his faith, and he enriched him with honorable gifts. It happened, however, when they were talking one day on the walls of the city of Tolbiac that Hermenfred was pushed by some one or other, and fell from the height of the wall to the ground and there died. But we do not know who cast him down from there; many however assert that a stratagem of Theodoric was plainly revealed in this.
    [9. King Childebert takes possession of Auvergne on a false report of Theodoric's death. 10. He leaves Auvergne and makes an expedition into Spain to avenge the ill-treatment of his sister Chlotchild by her husband Amalaric. 11-13. King Theodoric takes vengeance on the people of Auvergne for receiving Childebert.]
    14. Now Munderic, who asserted that he was a kinsman of the king, was puffed up with pride and said: "What have I to do with king Theodoric. For the throne of the kingdom is as much my due as his. I shall go out and gather my people, and exact an oath from them, that Theodoric may know that I am king just as much as he." And he went out, and began to lead the people astray, saying: "I am a chief, follow me, and it will be well with you." A multitude of country people followed him, as one might expect from the frailty of mankind, taking the oath of fidelity and honoring him as a king. And when Theodoric found this out he sent a command to him, saying: " Come to see me, and if any share of my kingdom is due you, take it." Now Theodoric said this deceitfully, thinking that he would kill him when he came. But the other was unwilling and said: " Go, bear back word to your king that I am king just as he is." Then the king gave orders to set his army in motion, in order to crush him by force and punish him. And he learned this, and not being strong enough to defend himself, he hastened to the walls of the stronghold of Vitry, and strove to fortify himself in it with all his property, gathering together those whom he had led astray. Now the army got underway, and surrounded the stronghold, and besieged it for seven days. And Munderic resisted with his people, saying: "Let us make a brave stand, and fight together even to death, and not submit to the enemy." And when the army kept hurling javelins against them on every side, and accomplished nothing, they reported this to the king. And he sent for a certain one of his people, named Aregyselus, and said to him: "You see," said he, "what this traitor is able to do in his arrogance. Go and swear an oath to him that he shall go forth safe. And when he has come forth, kill him, and blot out his memory from our kingdom." He went away and did as he had been ordered. He had however first given a sign to the people, saying: "When I speak words thus and so, rush upon him immediately and kill him." Now Aregyselus went in and said to Munderic: "How long will you sit here like one without sense? You will not be able to resist the king long, will you? Behold, your food has been cut off. When hunger overcomes you, you will come forth whether or no, and surrender yourself into the hands of the enemy, and you will die like a dog. Listen rather to my advice, and submit to the king, that you may be able to live, you and your sons." Then the other, disheartened by these words, said: "If I go out, I shall be seized by the king and slain, both I and my sons and all my friends who are gathered with me." And Aregyselus said to him: "Do not be afraid, but if you decide to go forth, receive my oath as to your crime, and stand securely before the king. Do not be afraid. You shall be o n the same terms with him as you were before." To this Munderic answered: "I wish I were sure I should not be killed." Then Aregyselus put his hands on the holy altar, and swore to him that he should go out safely. So when the oath had been taken, Munderic went out from the gate of the stronghold, holding Aregyselus' hand, and the people gazed at him from a distance. Then as a sign Aregyselus said: "Why do you gaze so intently, O people? Did you never see Munderic before?" And at once the people rushed upon him. But he understood and said: "I see very plainly that by these words you gave a sign to the people to kill me, but I tell you who have deceived me by perjury, no one shall ever see you alive again. And he drove his lance into his back, and thrust it through him and he fell and died. Then Munderic unsheathed his sword, and with his followers made great slaughter of the people, and until he died did not shrink back from any one he could reach. And after he had been slain his property was added to the treasury.
   15. Theodoric and Childebert made a treaty, and swearing to each other that neither would attack the other, they took hostages from each other, in order that their agreement might be more secure. Many sons of senators were given as hostages on that occasion, but a quarrel arose later between the kings, and they were given over to servitude and those who had taken them to guard now made slaves of them. Many of them however escaped by flight, and returned to their native place, but a good many were kept in slavery. Among these was Attalus, nephew of the blessed Gregory, bishop of Langres, who became a slave and was appointed keeper of horses. He was in servitude to a certain barbarian in the territory of Trèves. Now the blessed Gregory sent servants to inquire for him, who found him, and offered presents to the man, but he rejected them contemptuously, saying: "This fellow, belonging to such a family, ought to be ransomed with ten pounds of gold." And when they had returned, a certain Leo belonging to the kitchen of his master, said: "I wish you would give me permission, and perhaps I might be able to bring him back from captivity." His master was glad of the offer, and he went straight to the place, and desired to carry the youth away secretly, but could not. Then bargaining with a certain man he said: "Come with me, and sell me in the house of that barbarian, and take the profit of my price, only let me have a freer opportunity of doing what I have decided." After taking an oath, the man went and sold him for twelve gold pieces, and departed. The purchaser asked the new slave what work he could do, and he answered "I am very skilled in preparing all the things that ought to be eaten at the tables of masters, and I am not afraid that my equal in skill can be found. For I tell you that even if you desire to make ready a feast for the king, I can prepare kingly viands, and no one better than I." And he said; "The day of the sun is near,"- for thus the Lord's day is usually named in the barbarian fashion--"on this day my neighbors and kinsmen shall be invited to my house. I ask you to make me such a feast as to make them wonder and say 'we have not seen better in the king's palace.'" And the other said: "Let my master order a great number of fowls, and I will do what you command." Accordingly the preparations which the slave had asked for were made, and the Lord's day dawned and he made a great feast full of delicacies. And when all had feasted and praised the viands, the master's kinsmen went away. The master thanked this slave, and gave him authority over the food that he had ready for use, and he loved him greatly, and the slave used to serve food to all who were with his master. After the space of a year, when his master was now certain of him, Leo went out into a meadow which was near the house, with the slave Attalus, the keeper of the horses, and lying on the ground with him a long distance off, with their backs turned so they would not be recognized as together, he said to the youth: "It is time that we ought to be thinking of our native place. Therefore I advise you not to allow yourself to go to sleep tonight when you bring the horses to be shut in, but as soon as I call you, come, and let us undertake the journey." Now the barbarian had invited many of his kinsmen to a feast, and among them was his son­in­law, who had married his daughter. And at midnight they rose from the banquet and retired to rest, and Leo attended his master's son­in­law to the place assigned and offered him drink. The man said to him: "Tell me, if you can, trusted servant of my father-in-law, when will you decide to take his horses and go to your own country '' He said this in a joking way. In the same way the other jokingly gave the truthful answer: "Tonight, I think, if it is God's will." And he said: "I hope my attendants will be on the watch that you take nothing of mine." They parted laughingly and when all were asleep, Leo called Attalus, and when the horses were saddled, he asked him if he had a sword. He answered: "I do not need one, I have only a small lance." But the other went into his master's house, and took his shield and spear. And when he asked who it was, and what he wanted, he answered: "I am Leo, your slave, and I am waking Attalus, so that he may rise quickly and take the horses to pasture; for he is sleeping as soundly as if he were drunk." And he said: "Do as you please. And saying this he fell asleep. The other went out of doors and armed the youth, and found unbarred, by divine help, the gates of the yard, which at nightfall he had barred with wedges driven by a hammer, to keep the horses safe; thanking God they took the remaining horses and went off, taking also a roll of garments. They came to the river Moselle in order to cross it, and being detained by certain persons they left their horses and clothes and swam over the river, supported on a shield and climbing the further bank they hid themselves in the woods amid the darkness of the night. The third night was come since they had been on their way without tasting food. Then by God's will they found a tree full of the fruit which is commonly called plums, and ate and were strengthened somewhat, and began the journey through Champagne. And as they hastened, they heard the tramping of horses going at a rapid gait, and they said: "Let us throw ourselves down on the ground, so as not to be seen by the men who are coming." And behold they suddenly came upon a great bramble bush, and they passed behind and threw themselves on the ground with their swords unsheathed, in order to defend themselves quickly from wicked men if they should be noticed. And when the others had come to the thorn­bush they stopped; and one of them said, while their horses were making water: "Woe is me that these accursed wretches are escaped and cannot be found; but by my salvation, if they are found I command one to be condemned to the gallows, and the other to be cut to fragments by strokes of the sword." Now the barbarian who said this was their master who was coming from the city of Rheims seeking for them, and he would certainly have found them on the way if night had not prevented. Then starting their horses, they went off. The fugitives reached the city on this very night, and going in, they found a man of whom they made inquiries, and he told them where the house of the priest Paulellus was. And while they were passing through the square, the bell was rung for matins--for it was the Lord's day--and knocking at the priest's door, they went in, and Leo told about his master. And the priest said to him: "It was a true vision I had. For last night I saw two doves fly toward me and settle on my hand, and one of them was white, and the other black." And Leo said to the priest: "May the Lord be kind as the day is holy. For we ask you to give us some food; for the fourth day is dawning since we have tasted bread and meat." He hid the slaves, and gave them bread soaked in wine, and went away to matins. The barbarian followed them, asking for the boys a second time, but he was deceived by the priest, and he went back. For the priest had an old friendship with the blessed Gregory. Then the youths, after refreshing their strength with food, and remaining two days in the home of the priest, departed, and thus they came to the holy Gregory. The bishop rejoiced at seeing them, and wept on the neck of Attalus his nephew; he set Leo free from the yoke of slavery with all his family, and gave him land of his own, on which he lived a free man with his wife and children all the days of his life.
   [16. Sigivald, duke of Auvergne is miraculously punished for taking church property. 17. Seven successive bishops of Tours are mentioned, one of them, Leo, being "a man of energy and skill in the building of wooden structures."]
   18. While queen Clotilda was staying at Paris, Childebert saw that his mother loved with especial affection the sons of Chlodomer, whom we have mentioned above, and being envious and fearful that they would have a share in the kingdom through the favor of the queen, he sent secretly to his brother king Clothar, saying: "Our mother keeps our brother's sons with her, and wishes them to be kings. You must come swiftly to Paris, where we will take counsel together and discuss what ought to be done about them, whether their hair shall be cut and they be treated like the rest of the common people, or whether we shall kill them and divide our brother's kingdom between ourselves equally." And Clothar was very glad at these words, and came to Paris. Now Childebert had spread the report among the people that the kings were meeting for the purpose of raising the little ones to the throne. And when they met, they sent to the queen, who was then dwelling in the city, saying: "Send the little ones to us, that they may be raised to the throne." And she rejoiced, not knowing their treachery, and giving the boys food and drink, she sent them saying: " I shall not think that I have lost my son, if I see you occupy his place in the kingdom." And they went, and were seized at once, and were separated from their servants and tutors, and they were guarded separately, in one place the servants, in another these little ones. Then Childebert and Clothar sent Arcadius, whom we have mentioned before, to the queen, with a pair of scissors and a naked sword. And coming he showed both to the queen, and said: "Most glorious queen, your sons, our masters, ask your decision as to what you think ought to be done with the boys, whether you give command for them to live with shorn hair, or for both to be put to death." She was terrified by the news and at the same time enraged, especially when she saw the naked sword and the scissors, and being overcome with bitterness, and not knowing in her grief what she was saying, she said imprudently: "It is better for me to see them dead rather than shorn, if they are not raised to the kingship." But he wondered little at her grief, and did not think what she would say later in less haste, but went swiftly, taking the news and saying: "Finish the task you have begun with the queen's favor; for she wishes your design to be accomplished." There was no delay. Clothar seized the older boy by the arm, and dashed him to the earth, and plunging his hunting knife into his side, he killed him pitilessly. And while the child was screaming, his brother threw himself at Childebert's feet and seized his knees and said: "Help me, kind father, lest I perish like my brother." Then Childebert, his face covered with tears, said: "Dearest brother, I ask you to grant his life to me in your generosity, and let me pay for his life what you wish, only let him not be killed." But the other attacked him with abuse, and said: " Cast him from you, or you shall surely die in his place. It is you," said he, " that are the guilty instigator [3] of this matter. Do you so easily break faith?" Childebert heeded this and cast the boy away from him to the other, who seized him and plunged his knife into his side and slew him as he had his brother before: then they killed the servants and the tutors. When they were killed Clothar mounted his horse and went off, making a small matter of the killing of his nephews. And Childebert retired to the outskirts of the city. And the queen placed their little bodies on a bier and followed them to the church of St. Peter with loud; singing and unbounded grief, and buried them side by side. One was ten years old, the other seven. But the third, Clodoald, they were unable to seize, since he was freed by the aid of brave men. He gave up his earthly kingdom and passed to the Lord's service, and cutting his hair with his own hand he became a clerk, busied with good works, and as a priest passed from this life. The two kings divided equally between them the kingdom of Chlodomer. And queen Clotilda showed herself such that she was honored by all; she was always diligent in alms, able to endure the whole night in watching, unstained in chastity and uprightness; with a generous and ready goodwill she bestowed estates on churches, monasteries, and holy places wherever she saw there was need, so that she was believed to serve God diligently, not as a queen but as his own handmaid, and neither her royal sons, nor worldly ambition, nor wealth, raised her up for destruction, but her humility exalted her to grace.
   19. There lived at that time in the city of Langres the blessed Gregory, a great bishop of God, renowned for his signs and miracles. And since we have spoken of this bishop, I think it not unpleasing to insert in this place an account of the site of Dijon, where he was especially active. It is a stronghold with very solid walls, built in the midst of a plain, a very pleasant place, the lands rich and fruitful, so that when the fields are ploughed once the seed is sown and a great wealth of produce comes in due season. On the south it has the Ouche, a river very rich in fish, and from the north comes another little stream, which runs in at the gate and flows under a bridge and again passes out by another gate, flowing around the whole fortified place with its quiet waters, and turning with wonderful speed the mills before the gate. The four gates face the four regions of the universe, and thirty-three towers adorn the whole structure, and the wall is thirty feet high and fifteen feet thick, built of squared stones up to twenty feet, and above of small stone. And why it is not called a city I do know. It has all around it abundant springs, and on the west are hills, very fertile and full of vineyards, which produce for the inhabitants such a noble Falernian that they disdain wine of Ascalon. The ancients say this place was built by the emperor Aurelian.
   [20. Betrothal of Theodoric's son Theodobert to Visigard. 21. The Franks retake some of the cities taken by Clovis from the Goths. 22. Theodobert falls in love with Deoteria.]
   23. In those days Theodoric killed his kinsman Sigivald with the sword, sending secretly to Theodobert that he should slay Sigivald's son Sigivald whom he had with him. But he was unwilling to destroy him, because he had taken him from the sacred font. But he gave him the letter to read which his father had sent, saying: "Flee from here, because I have received my father's command to kill you; and if he dies and you hear that I am reigning, then return to me safely." On hearing this Sigivald thanked him, said good­by, and departed. Now at that time the Goths had taken possession of the city of Arles, from which Theodobert still had hostages. To it Sigivald fled. But he saw that he was not safe there, and went to Latium, and remained hidden there. While this was going on, word was brought to Theodobert that his father was seriously ill, and that if he did not hasten swiftly to him so as to find him alive, he would be excluded by his uncles, and would never be allowed to return. And he postponed everything on hearing this, and hastened thither, leaving Deoteria with her daughter at Clermont. And not many days after he had gone, Theodoric died, in the twenty-third year of his reign. And Childebert and Clothar rose against Theodobert and wished to take the kingdom from him, but he was defended by his leudes, after they had received gifts from him, and was established in his kingdom. He sent later to Clermont and summoned Deoteria thence, and married her.
   24. Childebert saw that he was not able to prevail, and sent an embassy to him, and bade him come to him, saying: "I have no sons, I wish to treat you as a son." And when he came he bestowed such rich gifts upon him that all wondered. For he presented him with three pairs of all the articles of armor, vestments, and other equipments that it becomes a king to have, and likewise with horses and chains. Sigivald heard this, namely, that Theodobert had received his father's kingdom, and returned to him from Italy. And Theodobert rejoiced, and kissed him, and bestowed upon him a third part of the gifts which he had received from his uncle, and he gave orders that all that his father had seized of the property of Sigivald's father, should be returned to him.
   25. And he was established in his kingdom, and showed himself great, and distinguished by every goodness. For he ruled his kingdom with justice, respecting this bishops, making gifts to the churches, relieving the poor, and doing kindnesses to many persons with a pious and generous heart. He kindly remitted all the tribute which was payable to his treasury from the churches situated in Auvergne.
   26. Now Deoteria saw that her daughter was quite grown up, and was afraid that the king would desire and take her. She placed her in a litter to which wild oxen were yoked, and sent her headlong over a bridge; and she lost her life in the river. This happened in the city of Verdun.
   27. As it was now the seventh year since Theodobert and Visigard had been betrothed, and he was unwilling to take her on account of Deoteria, the Franks, when they met, were greatly scandalized at him because he had abandoned his betrothed. Then he was alarmed, and abandoning Deoteria, by whom he had a little son named Theodobald, he married Visigard. And when she died not long after, he took another wife. But he did not have Deoteria after that.
   [28. Childerbert and Theodobert against Chlothar but are turned back by a miraculous hailstorm sent by St. Martin.]
   29. Later king Childebert set out for Spain. And entering the country with Clothar, they surrounded the city of Saragossa with their army, and besieged it. But the besieged turned to God in such humility that they put on haircloth, abstained from food and drink, and made the round of the walls of the city with psalm-singing, carrying the tunic of the blessed Vincent, the martyr; the women, too, followed wailing, clothed in black robes, with their hair hanging loose and ashes upon it, so that one would think they were attending the funerals of their husbands. And to such a degree did that city place its whole hope in God's mercy that it was said they were celebrating the fast of the Ninevites there, and there was no idea of any other possibility than that the divine mercy might be won by prayers. But the besiegers did not know what was going on, and when they saw them go around the wall in such a way they supposed they were engaged in some sorcery. Then seizing one of the common people of the place, they asked him what it was they were doing. And he said: "They are carrying the blessed Vincent's tunic, and at the same time they are praying the Lord to pity them." And they were afraid at this, and went away from that city. However, they acquired a very large part of Spain, and returned to the Gauls with great spoils.
   30. The After Amalaric, Theoda was ordained king in the Spains. But when he was slain they raised Theodegisil to the throne. When he was dining with his friends and was very cheerful, suddenly the lights were put out in the dining hall and he was slain by his enemies, being thrust through with a sword. After him Agila became king. For the Goths had formed the detestable habit of attacking with the sword any one of their kings who did not please them, and they would appoint as king any one that took their fancy.
   31. Theodoric of Italy having married a sister of king Clovis, died, and left his wife and a little daughter. When this girl was grown, because of her fickle temper she refused the counsel of her mother, who was looking out for a king's son for her, and took her slave named Traguilanis, and fled with him to a city where she hoped to defend herself. And when her mother raged at her furiously, and begged her not to disgrace further a noble family and said it was her duty to send the slave off and take one of equal rank with herself from a royal family, whom her mother had provided, she was by no means willing to agree to it. Then her mother, still raging at her, set an army in motion. And they came upon them, and killed Traguilanis with the sword, chastised the girl herself, and took her to her mother's house. Now they belonged to the Arian sect, and as it is their custom that of those going to the altar the kings receive one cup and the lesser people another, she put poison in the cup from which her mother was going to receive the communion. And she drank it and died forthwith. There is no doubt that such harm is from the devil. What shall the wretched heretics answer to this charge that the enemy dwells in their holy place? But as for us who confess the Trinity in one similar equality and omnipotence, even if we should drink a deadly draught in the name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit, the true and incorruptible God, it would not do us any harm. The Italians were indignant this woman, and they invited Theodad, king of Tuscia, and made him king over them. When he learned what the harlot had been guilty of, how she had slain her mother on account of a slave whom she had taken, he gave orders that a bath be raised to a great heat, and that she be shut in the same with one maid. And when she entered the hot vapors she fell at once on the pavement, and died, and was consumed. And when the kings Childebert and Chlothar, her cousins, as well as Theodobert, learned this, namely, that she had been put to death in so shameful a manner, they sent an embassy to Theodad, blaming him for her death, and saying: "If you do not make an arrangement with us for what you have done, we will take your kingdom from you, and condemn you to a like punishment." Then he was afraid, and sent to them fifty thousand gold pieces. And Childebert, being envious of king Clothar, and deceitful, joined with Theodobert his nephew, and they divided the gold between them, and refused to give any of it to king Clothar. But he made an attack upon the treasures of Chlodomer, and took much more from them than that of which they had defrauded him.
   32. Theodobert went to Italy, and there made great gains. But as those places according to report are full of diseases, his army was attacked by various fevers, and many of them died there. Seeing this, Theodobert returned from the country and brought much spoil, himself and his men. It is related at that time he went as far as the city of Pavia to which he again sent Buccelenus. And he captured lesser Italy and brought it under the sway of the king who has been mentioned, and attacked greater Italy; here he fought against Belsuarius many times and won the victory. And when the emperor saw that Belsuarius was being beaten more frequently he removed him, and put Narses in his place, and, as a humiliation, he made Belsuarius count of the stable, a place he had held before. But Buccelenus fought great battles against Narses: capturing all Italy he extended his boundaries to the sea, and he sent great treasures from Italy to Theodobert. When Narses made this known to the emperor, the emperor hired nations and sent aid to Narses, and in the battle later he was defeated. Then Buccelenus seized Sicily and exacting tribute from it he sent it to the king. He enjoyed great prosperity in these matters.
   [33. Feud between Asteriolus and Secundinus, advisers of King Theodobert]
   34. Desideratus, bishop of Verdun, to whom king Theodoric had done many wrongs, was restored to liberty at the Lord's command, after many losses and reverses and griefs, and received the office of bishop, as we have said, at the city of Verdun, and seeing its inhabitants very poor and destitute he grieved for them, and since he was left without his own property because of Theodoric, and had nothing of his own with which to relieve them, knowing the goodness and kindness to all of king Theodobert, he sent an embassy to him saying: "The fame of your goodness is spread over all the earth, since your generosity is such that you give aid even to those who do not seek it. I beg of your kindness if you have any money, that you lend it to us that we may be able to relieve our fellow­citizens; and when those in charge of business secure a return in our city such as the rest have, we will repay your money with lawful interest." Then Theodobert was stirred with pity and furnished seven thousand gold pieces, which the bishop received and paid out among his fellow­citizens. And they who were engaged in business were made rich through this and are considered great to the present day. And when the bishop who has been just mentioned offered the money which was due to the king, the king answered: "I have no need to take this; it is enough for me if the poor men who were suffering want have been relieved by your care because of your suggestion and my generosity." And he whom we have mentioned made the citizens rich without demanding anything.
   [35. Syagrius avenges wrongs done to his father by killing Syrivald.]
   36. After this king Theodobert began to be sick. And the physicians gave him much care; but he did not get well because the Lord was already bidding him be summoned. And so after a very long illness he died of his infirmity. And as the Franks hated Parthenius intensely, because he had subjected them to tribute in the time of the king just mentioned, they began to attack him. He saw that he was in danger, and fled from the city, and humbly begged two bishops to conduct him to the city of Trèves, and check the sedition of the frenzied people by their preaching. While they were on their way he was lying on his bed at night, and suddenly he made a loud cry in his sleep, saying: "Ho! Ho! Help, you who are here, and assist one who is perishing." By this shouting those who were there were awakened, and they asked him what the matter was. He answered: "Ausanius, my friend, and my wife Papianella, whom I slew long ago, were summoning me to judgment, saying: 'Come to defend yourself, since you are going to plead with us in the presence of the Lord." Now he had slain his innocent wife and his friend some years before, under the influence of jealousy. Accordingly, the bishops approached the city just mentioned, and since they could not calm the sedition among the rebellious people, they wished to hide him in the church, placing him in a chest, and strewing above him vestments which were used in the church. The people came in, and after searching every corner of the church, went out in a rage when they found nothing. Then one said suspiciously: "Behold a chest in which our enemy has not been sought for." And when the guards said that there was nothing in it except that it contained furniture of the church, they demanded the key, saying: "Unless you quickly unlock it we will break it open ourselves." Finally the chest was unlocked, the linen cloths were removed, and they found him and dragged him out, rejoicing and saying: "God has delivered our enemy into our hands." Then they struck him with their fists, and spat on him, and tying his hands behind his back, they stoned him to death beside a column. He was very voracious in eating, and what he ate he digested speedily, taking aloes in order to be made hungry soon again.... And so he perished, meeting this kind of end.
   37. In that year the winter was a grievous one and more severe than usual, so that the streams were held in the chains of frost and furnished a path for the people like dry ground. Birds, too, were affected by the cold and hunger, and were caught in the hand without any snare when the snow was deep.
   Now from the death of Clovis to the death of Theodobert there are reckoned thirty-seven years. When Theodobert died in the fourteenth year of his reign, Theodoald his son reigned in his stead.



[1] ad ilicem. Not in the Vulgate. Gregory probably used in part a rude popular version of the Scriptures. See Bonnet, p. 66.
[2] Reading invisibilem for indivisibilem
[3] Reading for incestotor, instecator. Bonnet, Le Latin de Gregoire de Tours, p. 454, 5.