Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks


  1. The rule of the younger Childebert
  2. Merovech marries Brunhilda
  3. War with Chilperic; Rauching's wickedness
  4. Roccolenus comes to Tours
  5. The bishops of Langres
  6. Leonastis, archdeacon of Bourges
  7. The recluse Senoch
  8. The holy Germanus, bishop of Paris
  9. The recluse Caluppa
  10. The recluse Patroclus
  11. Conversion of Jews by bishop Avitus
  12. The abbot Brachio
  13. Mummulus devastates Limoges
  14. Merovech after receiving the tonsure flees to St. Martin's church
  15. War between the Saxons and Suevi
  16. Death of Macliavus
  17. The uncertainty about Easter; the church at Chinon; how king Gunthram killed Magnachar's sons and lost his own and then allied himself with Childebert
  18. Bishop Prætextatus and Merovech's death
  19. Tiberius's charities
  20. Bishops Salunius and Sagittarius
  21. The Breton Winnoc
  22. Death of Samson, Chilperic's son
  23. Prodigies that appeared
  24. Gunthram Boso takes his daughters from the church of the holy Hilarius and Chilperic attacks Poitiers
  25. Death of Dacco and of Dracolinus
  26. The army marches against the Bretons
  27. Salunius and Sagittarius are degraded
  28. Chilperic's taxes
  29. The ravaging of Brittany
  30. The rule of Tiberius
  31. The attacks of the Bretons
  32. Sacrilege done in the church of St. Denis because of a woman
  33. Prodigies
  34. Dysentary and the death of Chilperic's sons
  35. Queen Austrechild
  36. Bishop Eraclius and Count Nanthinus
  37. Martin, bishop of Galicia
  38. Persecution of the Christians in the Spains
  39. Clovis's death
  40. Bishop Elafius and Eunius
  41. Legates from Galicia and prodigies
  42. Maurilio, bishop of Cahors
  43. Dispute with a heretic
  44. Chilperic's writings
  45. Death of bishop Agricola
  46. Death of bishop Dalmatius
  47. Eunomius becomes count
  48. Leudast's wickedness
  49. The plots he formed against us and how he was himself brough low
  50. Prediction of the blessed Salvius about Chilperic



   I am weary of relating the details of the civil wars that mightily plague the nation and kingdom of the Franks; and the worst of it is that we see in them the beginning of that time of woe which the Lord foretold: "Father shall rise against son, son against father, brother against brother, kinsman against kinsman." They should have been deterred by the examples of former kings who slain by their enemies as soon as they were divided. How often has the very city of cities, the great capital of the whole earth, been laid low by civil war and again, when it ceased, has risen as if from the ground! Would that you too, O kings, were engaged in battles like those in which your fathers struggled, that the heathen terrified by your union might be crushed by your strength! Remember how Clovis won your great victories, how he slew opposing kings, crushed wicked peoples and subdued their lands, and left to you complete and unchallenged dominion over them! And when he did this he had neither silver nor gold such as you now have in your treasuries. What is your object? What do you seek after?' What have you not in plenty? In your homes there are luxuries in abundance, in your storehouses wine, grain and oil abound, gold and silver are piled up in your treasuries. One thing you lack: without peace you have not the grace of God. Why does one take from another? Why does one desire what another has? I beg of you, beware of this saying of the apostle: "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." Examine carefully the books of the ancients and you will see what civil wars beget. Read what Orosius writes of the Carthaginians, who says that after seven hundred years their city and country were ruined and adds: "What preserved this city so long? Union. What destroyed it after such a period? Disunion." Beware of disunion, beware of civil wars which destroy you and your people. What else is to be expected but that your army will fall and that you will be left without strength and be crushed and ruined by hostile peoples. And, king, if civil war gives you pleasure, govern that impulse which the apostle says is urgent within man, let the spirit struggle against the flesh and the vices fall before the virtues; and be free and serve your chief who is Christ, you who were once a fettered slave of the root of evil.
   [1. Sigibert's son, Childebert, not yet five years old, is made king. Chilperic seizes Brunhilda and keeps her in exile at Rouen.]
   2. Chilperic sent his son Merovech to Poitiers with an army. But he disobeyed his father's orders and came to Tours and spent there the holy days of Easter. His army did great damage to that district. Merovech himself in pretense that he wanted to go to see his mother went to Rouen and there met queen Brunhilda and married her. Upon news of this Chilperic became very bitter because Merovech had married his uncle's widow contrary to divine law and the canons, and quicker than speech he hastened to the above mentioned city. But when they learned that he was determined to separate them they took refuge in the church of St. Martin that is built of boards upon the wall of the city. But when the king on his arrival strove to entice them thence by many artifices and they refused to trust him, thinking that he was acting treacherously, he took oath to them, saying: "If it was the will of God, he himself would not attempt to separate them." They accepted this oath and came out of the church and Chilperic kissed them and gave them a fitting welcome and feasted with them. But after a few days he returned to Soissons, taking Merovech with him.
   [3. Godin makes an attack on Chilperic's territory but is defeated. Chilperic suspects Merovech of being involved in the attack. Godin's wife after his death marries a notorious character, Rauching.]
   3. . . . Godin's wife married Rauching, a man full of every vanity, swollen with haughtiness, wanton pride, who treated those under him in such a way that one could not perceive that he had any human feeling in him, and he vented his rage on his own people beyond the limits of human wickedness and folly and committed unspeakable wrongs. For whenever a slave held a candle for him at dinner, as the custom is, he would make him bare his legs and hold the candle against them until it went out; when it was lighted he would do the same thing again until the legs of the slave who held the candle were burned all over. And if he uttered a cry or tried to move from that place to another a naked sword at once threatened him, and when he wept Rauching could scarcely contain himself for delight. Certain ones tell the story that two of his slaves at that time loved one another, namely, a man and a maid - a thing that often happens. And when this love had lasted a space of two years or more, they were united together and took refuge in the church. When Rauching found it out he went to the bishop of the place and demanded that his slaves be returned to him at once, and said they would not be punished. Then the bishop said to him: "You know what respect should I be paid to the churches of God; you cannot take them unless you give a pledge of their permanent union, and likewise proclaim that they shall remain free from every bodily punishment." When he had continued silent for a long time in doubtful thought, he finally turned to the bishop and placed his hands on the altar and swore, saying: "They shall never be parted by me but I will rather cause them to continue in this union permanently, because although it is annoying to me that this was done without my consent, still I welcome this feature of it, that he has not married a maid belonging to another nor she another's slave." The bishop in a simple­hearted say believed the crafty fellow's promise and restored the slaves under the promise that they would not be punished. Rauching took them and thanking the bishop went home. He at once directed a tree to be cut down and the trunk cut off close to the ranches and split with wedges and hollowed out. He ordered the earth to be dug to a depth of three or four feet and half the trunk put in the trench. Then he placed the maid there as if she were dead and ordered them to throw the man in on top. And he put the covering on and filled the trench and buried them alive, saying: "I have not broken my oath that they should never be separated." When this was reported to the bishop he ran swiftly, and fiercely rebuking the man he finally succeeded in having them uncovered. However it was only the man who was alive when dragged out; he found the girl suffocated. In such actions Rauching showed himself very wicked, having no other aptitude except in loud laughter and trickery and every perversity. Therefore he justly met a fitting death since he so behaved himself when he enjoyed this life; but I shall tell of this later.
   4. In these days Roccolenus being sent by Chilperic came to Tours with great boasting and pitching camp beyond the Loire he sent messengers to us that we ought to drag from the holy church Gunthram, who was at that time wanted for the death of Theodobert; if we would not do it he would give orders to burn the city with fire and all its suburbs. On hearing this we sent messengers to him saying that what he asked to have done had not been done from ancient time; moreover the holy church could not now be violated; if it should be, it would not be well for him or for the king who had given this command; let him rather stand in awe of the holiness of the bishop whose power only the day before had given strength to paralytic limbs. But he had no fear of such words and while he was dwelling in a house belonging to the church beyond the river Loire he tore down the house itself which had been built with nails. The people of Mans who had come on that occasion with him carried the nails off, filling their bags, and they destroyed the grain and laid everything waste. But while Roccolenus was engaged on this he was struck by God, and becoming saffron color from the royal disease he sent harsh commands saying: "Unless you cast duke Gunthram out of the church today I will destroy every green thing around the city so that the country will be ready for the plow. [1] Meantime the sacred day of Epiphany came and he began to be in greater and greater torture. Then after taking counsel with his people he crossed the river and approached the city. And when [the clergy] were hastening from the cathedral to the holy church singing psalms, he rode on horseback behind the cross, preceded by his standards. But when he entered the holy church his rage and threats cooled and going back to the cathedral he could take no food on that day. Then being very short of breath he departed for Poitiers. Now these were the days of holy Lent during which he often ate young rabbits. And after setting for the first of March the actions by which he meant to ruin and fine the citizens of Poitiers, he rendered up his life on the preceding day; and so his pride and insolence ceased.
   5. At that time Felix bishop of Nantes wrote me a letter full of insults writing also that my brother had been slain because he had killed a bishop, being himself greedy for the bishopric. But the reason Felix wrote this was because he wanted an estate belonging to the church. And when I would not give it he was full of rage and vented on me, as I have said, a thousand insults. I finally replied to him: "Remember the words of the prophet 'Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field! They are not going to inhabit the earth alone, are they? "I wish you had been bishop of Marseilles! For ships would never have brought oil or other goods there, but only paper that you might have greater opportunity for writing to defame honest men. It is the scarcity of paper that sets a limit to your wordiness." He was a man of unlimited greed and boastfulness. Now I shall pass over these matters, not to appear like him, and merely tell how my brother passed from the light of day and how swift a vengeance the Lord visited upon his assassin. The blessed Tetricus [2], bishop of the church of Langres, who was already growing old, expelled the deacon Lampadio from his place as procurator, and my brother in his desire to aid the poor men whom Lampadio had wickedly despoiled, joined in bringing about his humiliation and thus incurred his hatred. Meantime the blessed Tetricus had an apoplectic stroke. And when the poultices of the doctors did him no good, the clergy were disquieted, and seeing they were bereft of their shepherd they asked for Monderic. The king granted their request and he was given the tonsure and ordained bishop with the understanding that while the blessed Tetricus lived he should govern the town of Tonnerre as archpriest and dwell there, and when his predecessor died he should succeed him. But while he lived in the town he incurred the king's anger. For it was charged against him that he had furnished supplies and made gifts to king Sigibert when he was marching against his brother Gunthram. And so he was dragged from the town and thrust off into exile on the bank of the Rhone in a certain tower that was very small and had lost its roof. Here he lived for nearly two years to his great hurt, and then through the intercession of the blessed bishop Nicetius he returned to Lyons and dwelt with him for two months. But since he could not prevail on the king to restore him to the place from which he had been expelled he fled in the night and passed over to Sigibert's kingdom and was made bishop of the village of Arisitum with fifteen parishes more or less under him. These the Goths had held at first, and now Dalmatius, bishop of Rodez, judges them. When he went away the people of Langres again requested as bishop, Silvester, a kinsman of ours and of the blessed Tetricus. Now they asked for him at the instigation of my brother Meantime the blessed Tetricus passed away and Silvester received the tonsure and was ordained priest and took the whole authority over the property of the church. And he made preparations to go and receive the blessing of the bishops at Lyons. While this was going on he was stricken by an attack of epilepsy, having been long a victim of the disease, and being more cruelly bereft of his senses than before he kept continually uttering a moaning cry for two days and on the third day breathed his last. After this Lampadius who had lost his position and his means as is described above, united with Silvester's son in hatred of Peter the deacon, plotting and asserting that his father had been killed by Peter's evil arts. Now the son being young and light­minded was aroused against him, accusing him in public of murder. Upon hearing this Peter carried his case before the holy bishop Nicetius, my mother's uncle, and went to Lyons and there in the presence of bishop Siagrius and many other bishops as well as secular princes he cleared himself by oath of ever having had any part in Silvester's death. But two years later, being urged to it again by Lampadius, Silvester's son followed Peter the deacon on the road and killed him with a lance wound. When the deed was done Peter was taken from that place and carried to the town of Dijon and buried beside the holy Gregory, our great­grandfather. But Silvester's son fled and passed over to king Chilperic, leaving his property to the treasury of king Gunthram. And when he was wandering through distant parts because of the crime he had committed, and there was no safe place for him to dwell in, at length, I suppose, innocent blood called upon the divine power against him and when he was traveling in a certain place he drew his sword and slew a man who had done him no harm. And the man's kinsmen, filled with grief at the death of their relative, roused the people, and drawing their swords they cut him in pieces and scattered him limb by limb. Such a fate did the wretch meet by God's just judgment, so that he who slew the innocent kinsman should not himself live longer in guilt. Now this happened to him in the third year.
   After Silvester's death the people of Langres again demanded a bishop, and received Pappolus who had once been archdeacon at Autun. According to report he did many wicked deeds, which are omitted by us that we should not seem to be disparagers of our brethren. However, I shall not fail to mention what this end was. In the eighth year of his episcopate, while he was making the round of the parishes and domains of the church, one night as he slept the blessed Tetricus appeared to him with threatening face and said: "What are you doing here, Pappolus? Why do you pollute my see? Why do you invade my church? Why do you so scatter the flock that was put in my charge? Yield your place, leave the see, go far from this territory." And so speaking he struck the rod he had in his hand sharply against Pappolus' breast. Upon this Pappolus woke up and while he was thinking what this meant a sharp pang darted in that place and he was tortured with the keenest pain. He loathed food and drink and awaited the approach of death. Why more? He died on the third day with a rush of blood from the mouth. Then he was carried forth and buried at Langres. In his place the abbot Mummolus, called also Bonus, was made bishop. To him many give great praise: that he is chaste, sober, moderate, very ready for every goodness, a friend of justice and a zealous lover of charity. When he took the bishopric he perceived that Lampadius had taken much of the church property by fraud, and by spoiling the poor had gathered lands, vineyards and slaves, and he ordered him to be stripped of all and driven out from his presence. He now lives in the greatest want and gets his living by his own hands. Let this be enough on these.
   6. In the same year as that mentioned above, that is, the year in which Sigibert died and Childebert his son began to reign, many miracles were done at the tomb of the blessed Martin which I have described in the books I have attempted to compose about these miracles. And though my speech is unpolished I have still not allowed the things that I saw with my own eyes or learned from trustworthy persons to pass unknown. Here I shall relate merely what happens to the heedless who after a miracle from heaven have sought for earthly cures, because his power is shown in the punishment of fools just as much as in the gracious working of cures. Leonastis, archdeacon of Bourges, lost his sight through cataracts that grew over his eyes. And when he altogether failed to recover it by going around among many physicians, he came to the church of St. Martin and remaining here for two or three months and fasting continuously he prayed to recover his sight. And when the festival came his eyes brightened and he began to see. He returned home and summoned a certain Jew and applied cupping glasses to his shoulders by the help of which he was to increase his eyesight. But as the blood flowed his blindness revived again. When this happened he again returned to the holy temple. And remaining there again a long time he did not succeed in recovering t his sight. Which I think was refused because of his sin, according to the words of the Lord: "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath." "Behold thou art made whole; sin no more lest a worse thing befall thee." For he would have continued in health if he had not brought in the Jew in addition to the divine miracle. For such is the warning and reproof of the apostle saying: "Be not yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? For you are a temple of the living God. Therefore come ye out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord." Therefore let this case teach every Christian that when he has merit to receive heavenly medicine he should not seek after earthly help
   [7. Death of the priest Senoch, one "of the tribe of Theifali." 8. Germanus, bishop of Paris, dies. As he is taken to be buried his body bears heavily down on the street when the prisoners raise a cry and when they are released it is easily taken up again." 9. The recluse Caluppa dies. 10. The recluse Patroclus dies. He was very abstemious and "always wore a hair shirt next his body." "His eyes never grew dim."]
   11. And since our God always deigns to give glory to his bishops, I shall relate what happened to the Jews in Clermont this year. Although the blessed bishop Avitus often urged them to put aside the veil of the Mosaic law and interpret the Scriptures in their spiritual sense, and with pure hearts contemplate in the sacred writings Christ, son of the living God, promised on the authority of prophets and kings, there remained in their hearts, I will not now call it the veil which dimmed the light for Moses face, but a wall. The bishop prayed also that they should be converted to the Lord and that the veil of the letter should be torn from them, and one of them asked to be baptized on holy Easter, and being born again in God by the sacrament of baptism, in his white garments he joined the white­clad procession with the others. When the people were going in through the gate of the city one of the Jews, urged to it by the devil, poured stinking oil on the head of the converted Jew. And when all the people, horrified at this, wished to stone him, the bishop would not allow it. But on the blessed day on which the Lord ascends to heaven in glory after the redemption of man, when the bishop was walking in procession from the cathedral to the church singing psalms, a multitude of those who followed rushed upon the synagogue of the Jews and destroying it from the foundations they leveled it to the ground. On another day the bishop sent messengers to them saying: "I do not compel you by force to confess the Son of God, but nevertheless I preach him and I offer to your hearts the salt of wisdom. I am the shepherd put in charge of the Lord's sheep, and as regards you, the true Shepherd who suffered for us said that he had other sheep which are not in his sheepfold but which should be brought in, so that there may be one flock and one shepherd. And therefore if you are willing to believe as I, be one flock with me as your guardian; but if not, depart from the place." Now they continued a long time in turmoil and doubt and on the third day because of the prayers of the bishop, as I suppose, they met together and sent word to him saying; "We believe in Jesus, son of the living God, promised to us by the words of the prophets, and therefore we ask that we be purified by baptism and remain no longer in this guilt." The bishop was rejoiced at the news and keeping watch through the night of holy pentecost went out to the baptistery beyond the walls and there the whole multitude prostrated themselves before I him and begged for baptism. And he wept for joy, and cleansing all with water he anointed them with ointment and gathered them in i: the bosom of the mother church. Candles were lit, lamps burned brightly, the whole city was whitened with the white throng and the joy was as great as once Jerusalem saw when the holy spirit! descended on the apostles. The baptized were more than five hundred. But those who refused baptism left that city and returned I turned to Marseilles.
   [12. The abbot Brachio, a Thuringian and formerly a hunter dies. 13. Great battle between Chilperic's duke, Desiderius, and Gunthram's patrician, Mummolus. Desiderius is defeated.]
   14. After this Merovech, who was kept in custody by his father received the tonsure, and changing his garments for those which it is customary for the clergy to wear he was ordained priest and sent to the monastery at Mans called Anninsola [Saint-Calais] to be instructed in the duties of priests. Hearing this Gunthram Boso who was then living in the church of St. Martin, as we have stated sent the subdeacon Rigulf to advise him secretly to take refuge in the church of St. Martin. And when Merovech was on his way, Galen his slave went to meet him from the other side. And since his escort was not a strong one he was rescued by Galen on the way, and covering his head and putting on secular clothes he took refuge in the temple of the blessed Martin. We were celebrating mass in the holy church when he entered, finding the door open. After the mass he asked us to give him the consecrated bread. Now there was with us at that time Ragnemodus, bishop of the see of Paris, who had succeeded the holy Germanus; and when we refused, Merovech began to raise a disturbance and to say that we did not rightly suspend him from the communion without the assent of our brethren. When he said this we examined the case in the light of canon law, and with the consent of the brother who was present he received the consecrated bread from us. I was afraid that if I suspended one from communion I would become a slayer of many. For he threatened to kill some of our people if he did not receive the communion from us. The country of ours has sustained many disasters on this account. In these days Nicetius, my niece's husband, went with our deacon to king Chilperic on business of his own, and he told the king of Merovech's flight On seeing them queen Fredegunda said: "They are spies and have come to learn what the king is doing, in order to know what to report to Merovech." And she at once ordered them to be spoiled and thrust off into exile, from which they were released in the seventh month. Now Chilperic sent messengers to us saying: "Cast that apostate out of the church. If you don't I will burn that whole country with fire." And when we wrote back that it was impossible that what had not happened in the time of the heretics should now happen in Christian times, he set his army in motion and sent it toward this country.
   In the second year of king Childebert, when Merovech saw that his father was set in this purpose, he proposed to take with him duke Gunthram and go to Brunhilda, saying: "Far be it from me that the church of the master Martin should submit to outrage on my account, or his country be put into captivity for me." And going into the church and keeping watch he offered the things he had with him on the tomb of the blessed Martin, praying to the saint to help him and to grant him his favor so that he could take the kingdom. At that time count Leudast after setting many traps for him out of love for Fredegunda, at last craftily entrapped his slaves who had gone out into the country and slew them with the sword, and he desired to slay Merovech himself if he could find him in a suitable place. But Merovech followed Gunthram's advice and, desiring to avenge himself, he ordered Marileif the chief physician to be seized as he was returning from the king's presence, and after beating him most cruelly he took away the gold and silver and other valuables which he had with him and left him naked, and would have killed him if he had not escaped from the hands of those who were beating him and taken refuge in the church. And later we clothed him and having obtained his life sent him back to Poitiers. Now Merovech charged many crimes to his father and stepmother. But although they were partly true it was not acceptable to God I suppose that they should be made known through a son. This I learned to be so later on. For one day I was invited to dine with him and when we were sitting together he begged urgently that something be read for the instruction of his soul. So I opened the book of Solomon and took the first verse that came which contained the following: "The eye of him who looketh at his father askance, the ravens of the valleys shall pick it out." Although he did not understand it, I believed that this verse had been given by the Lord. Then Gunthram sent a slave to a certain woman known to him from the time of king Charibert, who had a familiar spirit, in order that she should relate what was to happen. He asserted besides that she had foretold to him the time, not only the year but also the day and hour, at which king Charibert was to die. And she sent back this answer by the slaves: "King Chilperic will die this year and king Merovech will exclude his brothers and take the whole kingdom. And you shall hold the office of duke over all his kingdom for five years. But in the sixth year you shall win the honor of the bishop's office, with the consent of the people, in a city which lies on the river Loire on its right bank, and you shall pass from this world old and full of days." And when the slaves had come back and reported this to their master he was at once filled with vanity as if he were already sitting In the chair of the church of Tours, and he reported the words to me. But I laughed at his folly and said: "It is from God that this should be sought; what the devil promises is not to be believed. He went off in confusion and I had a hearty laugh at the man who thought such things credible. At length one night when the watch was being kept in the church of the holy bishop and I had lain down and fallen asleep on my bed, I saw an angel flying through the air. And when he passed the holy church he cried in a loud voice: "Alas. Alas. God has stricken Chilperic and all his sons and there shall remain no one of those who came forth from his loins to rule his kingdom forever." He had at this time four sons by different wives, not to speak of daughters. And when this was fulfilled later on, then I saw clearly that what the soothsayers promised was false. Now while these men were staying in the church of St. Martin, queen Fredegunda who already favored Gunthram Boso secretly for the death of Theodobert, sent to him saying: "If you can cast Merovech forth from the church so that he will be killed you shall receive a great gift from me." And he thought the assassins were close at hand and said to Merovech: "Why are we so spiritless and timid as to sit here and hide sluggishly around the church? Let our horses be brought and let us take hawks and hunt with dogs and enjoy the hunting and the open views." He was acting cunningly to get Merovech from away the holy church. Now Gunthram otherwise was a very good man but he was too ready for perjury, and he never took an oath to any of his friends but that he broke it forthwith. They went out, as we have said, from the church and went as far as the house of Jocundiacus near the city; but Merovech was harmed by no one. And as Gunthram was at that time wanted for the killing of Theodobert, as we have said, king Chilperic sent a letter all written out to the tomb of St. Martin which contained the request that the blessed Martin would write back to him whether it was permissible to drag Gunthram from his church or not. And the deacon Baudegisih who brought the letter, sent to the holy tomb a clean sheet of paper along with the one he had brought. And after waiting three days and getting no answer he returned to Chilperic. And he sent others to exact an oath of Gunthram not to leave the church without his knowledge. Gunthram took the oath eagerly and gave an altarcloth as pledge that he would never go thence without the king's command. Now Merovech did not believe the sorcerers but placed three books on the saint's tomb, namely, Psalms, Kings and the Gospels, and keeping watch the whole night he prayed the blessed confessor to reveal to him what was coming and whether he could be king or not, in order that he might know by evidence from the Lord. After this he continued three days in fasting, watching and prayer, and going to the blessed grave a second time he opened the book of Kings.
   And the first verse on the page which he opened was this: "Because you have forsaken the Lord your God and have gone after other gods and have not done right in his sight, therefore the Lord your God has betrayed you into the hands of your enemies." And this verse was found in the Psalms: " But thou hast brought evils upon them because of their deceitfulness; thou hast hurled them down when they were lifted up. How have they been brought to desolation? They have suddenly failed and perished because of their iniquities." And in the Gospels this was found: "Ye know that after two days the passover cometh and the Son of man is delivered up to be crucified."
   At these answers he was troubled and wept long at the tomb of the blessed bishop, and then taking duke Gunthram with him he went off with five hundred men or more. He left the holy church and while marching through the territory of Auxerre he was captured by Erpo, king Gunthram's duke. And while he was being held by him he escaped by some chance and entered the church of the holy Germanus. On hearing this king Gunthram was angry and fined Erpo seven hundred gold pieces and removed him from office, saying: "You held prisoner one who my brother says is his enemy. Now if you intended to do this, you should first have brought him to me; otherwise you should not have touched him whom you pretended to hold prisoner."
   King Chilperic's army came as far as Tours and plundered this region and burned it and laid it waste, and did not spare St. Martin's property, but whatever he got his hands on he took without regard for God or any fear. Merovech remained nearly two months in the church I have mentioned and then fled and went to queen Brunhilda, but he was not received by the Austrasians. And his father set his army in motion against the people of Champagne, believing that he was hiding there. He did no injury, but he could not find Merovech.
   15. Inasmuch as Clothar and Sigibert had settled the Suevi and other tribes on their land when Albin had gone to Italy, they who returned in the time of Sigibert, namely the men who had been with Albin, rose against them, wishing to thrust them out from that country and destroy them. But they offered the Saxons a third of the land, saying: "We can live together without interfering with one another." But the Saxons were angry at them because they had themselves held this land before and they were by no means willing to be pacified. Then the Suevi made them a second offer of a half and then of two­thirds, leaving one­third for themselves. And when the Saxons refused this, they offered all their flocks and herds with the land, provided only they would refrain from attacking them. But they would not agree even to this and demanded battle. And before the battle, thinking that they had the Suevi already as good as slain, they discussed among themselves how they should divide their wives and what each should receive after their defeat. But God's mercy which does justice turned their thoughts another way. For when they fought there were 26,000 Saxons of whom 20,000 fell and of the Suevi 6000 of whom 480 only were laid low; and the remainder won the victory. The Saxons who were left took oath that they would cut neither beard nor hair until they had taken vengeance on their adversaries. But when they fought again they were defeated with greater loss and so the war was ended.
   [16. Macliavus and Bodic, counts of the Bretons, are succeeded Theodoric and Waroc. 17. King Gunthram loses his two sons. Easter is celebrated by some cities on March 21st, by others on April 18th. Guntrhan adopts his nephew Childebert and they order Chilperic to restore what he had taken from them.]
   18. After this Chilperic heard that Prætextatus, bishop of Rouen, was giving presents to the people to his disadvantage, and ordered him to appear before him. When he was examined he was found to have property intrusted to him by queen Brunhilda. This was taken away and he was ordered to be kept in exile until should be heard by the bishops. The council met and he was brought before it. The bishops, who went to Paris, were in the church of the holy apostle Peter. And the king said to him; " Why did you decide, bishop, to unite in marriage my enemy Merovech who ought to be my son, and his aunt, that is, his uncle's wife. Did you not know what the canons have ordained for such a case? And not only is it proven that you went too far in this matter but you actually gave gifts and urged him to kill me. You have made a son an enemy of his father, you have seduced the people with money so that no one of them would keep faith with me and you shed to give my kingdom over into the hands of another." When he said this a multitude of Franks raised an angry shout and wished to break through the church doors as if to drag the bishop out and stone him; but the king prevented them. And when the bishop Praetextatus denied that he had done what the king charged him with, false witnesses came who showed some articles of value saying: "These and these you gave on condition that we would plight faith with Merovech." Upon this he made answer; "You speak the truth in saying you have often received gifts from me, but it was not for the purpose of driving the king from the kingdom. For when you furnished me with excellent horses and other things what else could I do but repay you with equal value?" The king returned to his lodging, and we being gathered together sat in the consistory of the church of the blessed Peter. And while we were talking together Ætius, archdeacon of the church of Paris, came suddenly and greeting us said: "Hear me, bishops of God who are gathered together; at this time you shall either exalt your name and shine with the grace of good report or else no one will treat you hereafter as bishops of God if you do not wisely assert yourselves or if you allow your brother to perish." When he said this no one of the bishops made him any answer. For they feared the fury of the queen at whose instance this was being done. As they continued thoughtful with finger on lip, I said: "Most holy bishops, give your attention, I beg, to my words, and especially you who seem to be on friendly terms with the king; give him holy and priestly counsel not to burst out in fury at God's servant and perish by his anger and lose kingdom and fame." When I said this all were silent. And in this silence I added: "Remember, my lord bishops, the word of the prophet when he says: 'If the watchman sees the iniquity of a man and does not declare it, he shall be guilty for a lost soul.' Therefore do not be silent but speak and place the king's sins before his eyes, lest perchance some evil may befall him and you be guilty for his soul. Do you not know what happened lately? How Chlodomer seized Sigismund and thrust him into prison, and Avitus, God's priest, said to him: 'Do not lay violent hands on him and when you go to Burgundy you shall win the victory.' But he disregarded what was said to him by the priest and went and killed him with his wife and sons. And then he marched to Burgundy and was there defeated by the army and slain. What of the emperor Maximus? When he forced the blessed Martin to give communion to a certain bishop who was a homicide and Martin yielded to the wicked king in order the more easily to free the condemned from death, the judgment of the eternal King pursued him and Maximus was driven from the imperial throne and condemned to the worst death." When I said this no one made any answer but all stared in amazement. Still two flatterers from among them - it is painful to say it of bishops - carried the report to the king, saying that he had no greater foe to his purposes than I. At once one of the attendants at court was sent in all haste to bring me before him. When I came the king stood beside a bower made of branches and on his right bishop Bertram stood and on his left Ragnemod - and there was before them a bench covered with bread and different dishes. On seeing me the king said: "Bishop, you are bound to give justice freely to all; and I behold I do not obtain justice from you; but, as I see, you consent to iniquity and in you the proverb is fulfilled that crow does not tear out the eye of crow." To this I replied: "If any of us, O king, desires to leave the path of justice, he can be corrected by you; but if you leave it, who shall rebuke you? We speak to you; but you listen only if you wish; and if you refuse to listen who will condemn you except him who asserts that he is justice?" To this he answered, being inflamed against me by his flatterers: "With all I have found justice and with you only I cannot find it. But I know what I shall do that you may be disgraced before the people and that it may be evident to all that you are unjust. I will call together the people of Tours and say to them 'Cry against Gregory, for he is unjust and renders justice to no man.' And when they cry this out I will reply: 'I who am king cannot find justice with him and shall you who are less than I find it."' At this I said: "You do not know that I am unjust. But my conscience knows, to which the secrets of the heart are revealed. And if the people cry aloud with false cries when you attack me, it is nothing, because all know that this comes from you. And therefore it is not I but rather you that shall be disgraced in the outcries. But why speak further? You have the law and the canons; you ought to search them diligently; and then you will know that the judgment of God overhangs you if you do not observe their commands." But he tried to calm me, thinking that I did not understand that he was acting craftily, and pointing to the broth which was set in front of him he said: "It was for you I had this broth prepared; there is nothing else in it but fowl and a few peas." But I saw his flattery and said to him: "Our food ought to be to do the will of God and not to delight in these luxuries, in order by no means to neglect what he commands. Now do you who find fault with others for injustice promise first that you will not neglect the law and the canons; and then we will believe that you follow justice." Then he stretched out his right hand and swore by all­powerful God that he would in no way neglect the teaching of the law and the canons. Then I took bread and drank wine and departed. But that night when the hymns for the night had been sung I heard the door of my lodging struck with heavy blows, and sending a slave I learned that messengers from queen Fredegunda stood there. They were brought in and I received greetings from the queen. Then the slaves entreated me not to take a stand opposed to her. And at the same time they promised two hundred pounds of silver if I would attack Prætextatus and bring about his ruin. For they said: "We have already the promise of all the bishops; only don't you go against us." But I answered: "If you give me a thousand pounds of silver and gold what else can I do except what the Lord instructs me to do? I promise only one thing, that I will follow the decision that the rest arrive at in accordance with the canons." They did not understand what I meant but thanked me and went away. In the morning some of the bishops came to me with a similar message; to which I gave a similar answer.
   We met in the morning in St. Peter's church and the king was present and said: "The authority of the canons declares that a bishop detected in theft should be cast from the office of bishop." When I asked who was the bishop against whom the charge of theft was made the king answered: " You saw the articles of value which he stole from us." The king had showed us three days before two cases full of costly articles and ornaments of different sorts which were valued at more than three thousand solidi; moreover a bag heavy with coined gold, holding about two thousand pieces. The king said this had been stolen from him by the bishop. And the bishop answered: "I suppose you remember that when queen Brunhilda left Rouen I went to you and said that I had her property in keeping, to wit, five parcels, and that her slaves came to me frequently to take them back but I was unwilling to give them without your advice. And you said to me, O king: 'Rid yourself of these things and let the woman have her property back, lest enmity rise over this matter between me and Childebert my nephew.' I went back to the city and gave one case to the slaves for they could not carry more. They returned a second time and asked for the others. I again took counsel with your greatness. And you gave me directions saying 'Get rid of these things, bishop, get rid of them for fear that the matter may cause a scandal.' I again gave them two cases and two more remained with me. But why do you calumniate me now and accuse me, when this case should not be put in the class of theft but of safe­keeping." Then the king said: "If you had this property deposited in your possession for safe­keeping, why did you open one of them and cut in pieces a girdle woven of gold threads and give to men to drive me from the kingdom." Bishop Prætextatus answered: "I told you before that I had received their gifts and as I had nothing at hand to give I therefore took this and gave it in return for their gifts. I regarded as belonging to me what belonged to my son Merovech whom I received from the font of regeneration." King Chilperic saw that he could not overcome him by false charges, and being greatly astonished and thrown into confusion by his conscience, he withdrew from us and called certain of his flatterers and said: "I confess that I've been beaten by the bishop's replies and I know that what he says is true. What am I to do now, that the queen's will may be done on him?" And he said: "Go and approach him and speak as if giving your own advice; 'You know that king Chilperic is pious and merciful and is quickly moved to compassion; humble yourself before him and say that you are guilty of the charges he has made. Then we will all throw ourselves at his feet and prevail on him to pardon you."' Bishop Prætextatus was deceived and promised he would do this. In the morning we met at the usual place and the king came and said to the bishop: "If you gave gifts to these men in return for gifts, why did you ask for an oath that they would keep faith with Merovech?" The bishop replied: "I confess I did ask their friendship for him; and I would have asked not men alone but, if it were right to say so, I would have called an angel from heaven to be his helper; for he was my spiritual son from the baptismal font, as I have often said." And when the dispute grew warmer, bishop Prætextatus threw himself on the ground and said: " I have sinned against heaven and before thee, most merciful king: I am a wicked homicide; I wished to kill you and raise your son to the throne. "When he said this the king threw himself down at the feet of the bishops and said: "Hear, most holy bishops, the accused confesses his awful crime." And when we had raised the king from the ground with tears, he ordered Prætextatus to leave the church He went himself to his lodging, and sent the book of canons to which a new quaternion had been added containing the canons called apostolic and having the following: Let a bishop detected in homicide, adultery or perjury be cast out from his office. This was read and while Prætextatus stood in a daze, bishop Bertram spoke: "Hear, brother and fellow­bishop; you have not the king's favor and therefore you cannot enjoy our mercy before you win the indulgence of the king." After this the king demanded that his robe should be torn from him and the hundred and eighth psalm which contains the curses against Iscariot be read over his head and at the least, that the judgment be entered against him to be excommunicated forever. Which proposals I resisted according to the king's promise that nothing be done outside the canons Then Prætextatus was taken from our sight and placed in custody. And attempting to flee in the night he was grievously beaten and was thrust off into exile in an island of the sea that lies near the city of Coutances.
   After this the report was that Merovech was a second time trying to take refuge in the church of St. Martin. But Chilperic gave orders to watch the church and close all entrances. And leaving one door by which a few of the clergy were to go in for the services guards kept all the rest closed. Which caused great inconvenience to the people. When we were staying in Paris signs appeared in the sky, namely, twenty rays in the northern part which rose in the east and sped to the west; and one of them was more extended and overtopped the rest and when it had risen to a great height it soon passed away, and likewise the remainder which followed disappeared. I suppose they announced Merovech's death. Now when Merovech was lurking in Champagne near Rheims and did not trust himself to the Austrasians openly, he was entrapped by the people of Therouanne, who said that they would abandon his father Chilperic and serve him if he came to them And he took his bravest men and went to them swiftly. Then they revealed the stratagem they had prepared and shut him up at a certain village and surrounded him with armed men and sent messengers to his father. And he listened to them and purposed to hasten thither. But while Merovech was detained in a certain inn he began to fear that he would pay many penalties to satisfy the vengeance of his enemies, and called to him Galen his slave and said: "Up to the present we have had one mind and purpose. I ask you not to allow me to fall into the hands of my enemies, but to take your sword and rush upon me." And Galen did not hesitate but stabbed him with his dagger. The king came and found him dead. There were some at the time who said that Merovech's words, which we have just reported, were an invention of the queen, and that Merovech had been secretly killed at her command. Galen was seized and his hands, feet, ears, and the end of his nose were cut off, and he was subjected to many other tortures and met a cruel death. Grindio they fastened to a wheel and raised aloft, and Ciucilo, once count of king Sigibert's palace, they executed by beheading. Moreover they cruelly butchered by various forms of death many others who had come with Merovech. Men said at that time that bishop Egidius and Gunthram Boso were the leaders in the betrayal, because Gunthram enjoyed the secret friendship of Fredegunda for the killing of Theodobert, and Egidius had been her friend for a long time.
   [19. Tiberius Caesar, his alms to the poor, and the treasures miraculously discovered by him.]
   20. An uproar arose against the bishops Salunius and Sagittarius. They had been trained by the holy Nicetius, [3] bishop of Lyons, and had attained the office of deacon; and in his time Salunius was made bishop of Embrun and Sagittarius of Gap. Having reached the office of bishop they became their own masters and in a mad way began to seize property, wound, kill, commit adultery, and various other crimes, and at one time when Victor, bishop of Saint­Paul Trois­Châteaux was celebrating his birthday, they sent a band of men to attack him with swords and arrows. They went and tore his robes, wounded his servants, and carried off the dishes and everything used at the dinner, leaving the bishop overwhelmed by abuse. When king Gunthram learned of it he ordered a synod to meet in Lyons. The bishops assembled with the patriarch, blessed Nicetius, and after examining the case found that they were absolutely convicted of the crimes charged to them, and they ordered that men guilty of such acts should be removed from the office of bishop. But since Salunius and Sagittarius knew, that the king was still favorable to them they went to him complaining that they were unjustly removed and asking for permission to go to the pope of the city of Rome. The king listened to their prayers and gave them letters and let them go. They went to John the pope and told that they had been removed without any good reason. And he sent letters to the king in which he directed that they should be restored to their places. This the king did without delay, first rebuking them at length. But, what is worse, no improvement followed. However they did ask pardon of bishop Victor and surrendered the men whom they had sent at the time of the disturbance. But he remembered the Lord's teaching that evil should not be repaid one's enemies for evil and did them no harm but allowed them to go free. For this he was afterward suspended from the communion, because after making a public accusation he had secretly pardoned his enemies without the advice of the brethren to whom he had made the charge. But by the king's favor he was again restored to communion. But these men daily engaged in greater crimes and, as we have stated before, they armed themselves like laymen, and killed many with their own hands in the battles which Mummolus fought with the Lombards. And among their fellow­citizens they were carried away by animosity and beat a number with clubs and let their fury carry them as far as the shedding of blood. Because of this the outcry of the people again reached the king. The king ordered them to be summoned. On their arrival he refused to let them come into his presence, thinking that their hearing should be held first and that if they were found good men they would deserve an audience with the king. But Sagittarius was transported with rage, taking the matter hard, and being light and vain and ready with thoughtless speech, he began to make many loud declarations about the king and to say that his sons cannot inherit the kingdom because their mother had been taken to the king's bed from among the slaves of Magnachar; not knowing that the families of the wives are now disregarded and they are called the sons of a king who have been begotten by a king. On hearing this the king was greatly aroused and took away from them horses, slaves and whatever they had, and ordered them to be taken and shut up in distant monasteries to do penance there, leaving not more than a single clerk to each, and giving terrible warnings to the judges of the places to guard them with armed men and leave no opportunity open for any one to visit them. Now the king's sons were living at this time, and the older of them began to be sick. And the king's friends went to him and said: "If the king would deign to hear favorably the words of his servants they would speak in his ears." And he said; "Speak whatever you wish." And they said: "Beware lest perhaps these bishops be condemned to exile though innocent, and the king's sin be increased somewhat, and because of it the son of our master perish." And the king said; "Go with all speed and release them and beg them to pray for our little ones." They departed and the bishops were released and leaving the monasteries they met and kissed each other because they had not seen each other for a long time, and returned to their cities and were so penitent that they apparently never ceased from psalm-singing, fasting, almsgiving, reading the book of the songs of David through the day and spending the night in singing hymns and meditating on the readings. But this absolute piety did not last long and they fell a second time and generally spent the nights in feasting and drinking, so that when the clergy were singing the matins in the church these were calling for cups and drinking wine. There was no mention at all of God, no services were observed. When morning came they arose from dinner and covered themselves with soft coverings and buried in drunken sleep they would lie till the third hour of the day. And there were women with whom they polluted themselves. And then they would rise and bathe and lie down to eat; in the evening they arose and later they devoted themselves greedily to dinner until the dawn, as we have mentioned above. So they did every day until God's anger fell upon them, which we will tell of later.
   [21. Winnoc the Breton is made a priest. The miracle of the holy water from the tomb of St. Martin. 22. Death of Chilperic's young son. 23. Prodigies that appeared. 24. Chilperic takes Poitiers from Childebert. 25. Duke Dracolen captures the deserter Dacco and takes him to Chilperic. He commits suicide. Dracolen then meets Gunthram Boso, fights him on horseback and is killed. Violent end of Gunthram's father­in­law. 26. Chilperic sends an army including "the people of Tours" against the Bretons. Later he orders fines to be paid by the poor and the younger clergy of the church because they had not served in the army" although there was no custom for these to perform any state service." 27. Salunius and Sagiitarius the bishops are degraded.]
   28. King Chilperic ordered new and heavy impositions to be made in all his kingdom. For this reason many left these cities and abandoned their properties and fled to other kingdoms, thinking it better to be in exile elsewhere than to be subject to such danger. For it had been decreed that each landowner should pay a measure of wine per acre [aripennis]. Moreover many other taxes were imposed both on the remaining lands and on the slaves which could not be paid. When the people of Limoges saw that they were weighed down by such burdens they assembled on the first of March and wished to kill Marcus the referendary who had been ordered to collect these dues, and they would have done so had not bishop Ferreolus freed him from the threatening danger. The assembled multitude seized the tax books and burned them At this the king was greatly disturbed and sent officials from his court and fined the people huge sums and frightened them with tortures and put them to death. They say, too, that at that time abbots and priests were stretched on crosses and subjected to various tortures, the royal messengers accusing them falsely of having been accomplices in the burning of the books at the rising of the people. And henceforth they imposed more grievous taxes.
   [29. Fighting between Bretons and Franks goes on. 30. Tiberius succeeds Justin as emperor. 31. The Bretons pillage the country about Nantes and Rennes.]
   32. Sacrilege done in the church of St. Denis because of a woman.At Paris a certain woman fell under reproach, many charging that she had left her husband and was intimate with another. Then her husband's kinsmen went to her father saying: "Either make your daughter behave properly or she shall surely die, lest her wantonness lay a disgrace on our family." "I know," said the father, "that my daughter is well­behaved and the word is not true that evil men speak of her. Still, to keep the reproach from going further, I will make her innocent by my oath." And they replied "If she is without guilt declare it on upon the tomb here of the blessed Denis the martyr." "I will do so," said the father. Then having made the agreement they met at the church of the holy martyr and the father raised his hands above the altar and Swore that his daughter was not guilty. On the other hand, others the part of the husband declared that he had committed perjury. They entered into a dispute, drew their swords and rushed on one another, and killed one another before the very altar. Now they were men advanced in years and leaders with king Chilperic. Many received sword wounds, the holy church was spattered with human blood, the doors were pierced with darts and swords and godless missiles raged as far as the very tomb. When the struggle had with difficulty been stopped, the church was put under an interdict until the whole matter should come under the king's notice. They hastened to the presence of the prince but were not received with favor. They were sent back to the bishop of the place and the order was given that if they were not found guilty of this crime they might rightly be admitted to communion. Then they atoned for their evil conduct and were taken back to the communion of the church by Ragnemod, bishop of Paris. Not many days later the woman on being summoned to trial hanged herself.
   [33. A long list of prodigies]
   34. A very grievous plague followed these prodigies.
   For while the kings were quarreling and again preparing for civil war, dysentery seized upon nearly the whole of the Gauls. The sufferers had a high fever with vomiting and excessive pain in the kidneys; the head and neck were heavy. Their expectorations were of a saffron color or at least green. It was asserted by many that it was a secret poison. The common people called it internal pimples and this is not incredible, seeing that when cupping glasses were placed on the shoulders or legs mattery places formed and broke and the corrupted blood ran out and many were cured. Moreover herbs that are used to cure poisons were drunk and helped a good many. This sickness began in the month of August and seized upon the little ones and laid them on their beds. We lost dear sweet children whom we nursed on our knees or carried in our arms and nourished with attentive care, feeding them with our own hand. But wiping away our tears we say with the blessed Job: "The Lord has given; the Lord has taken away; the Lord's will has been done. Blessed be his name through the ages."
   In these days king Chilperic was very sick. When he got well his younger son, who was not yet reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, fell ill, and when they saw he was in danger they baptized him. He was doing a little better when his older brother named Clodobert was attacked by the same disease. Their mother Fredegunda saw they were in danger of death and she repented too late, and said to the king: "The divine goodness has long borne with our bad actions; it has often rebuked us with fevers and other evils but repentance did not follow and now we are losing our sons. It is the tears of the poor, the outcries of widows and the sighs of orphans that are destroying them. We have no hope left now in gathering wealth. We get riches and we do not know for whom. Our treasures will be left without an owner, full of violence and curses. Our storehouses are full of wine and our barns of grain, and our treasuries are full of gold, silver, precious stones, necklaces, and all the wealth of rulers. But we are losing what we held more dear. Come, please, let us burn all the wicked tax lists and let what sufficed for your father king Clothar, suffice for your treasury." So the queen spoke, beating her breast with her fists, and she ordered the books to be brought out that had been brought from her cities by Marcus, and when she had thrown them in the fire she said to the king: "Why do you delay; do what you see me do, so that if we have lost our dear children we may at least escape eternal punishment." Then the king repented and burned all the tax books and when they were burned he sent men to stop future taxes. After this the younger child wasted away in great pain and died. They carried him with great grief from Braine to Paris and buried him in the church of St. Denis. Clodobert they placed on a litter and took him to St. Medard's church in Soissons, and threw themselves down at the holy tomb and made vows for him, but being already breathless and weak he died at midnight. They buried him in the holy church of the martyrs Crispin and Crispinian. There was much lamenting among all the people; for men and women followed this funeral sadly wearing the mourning clothes that are customary when a husband or wife dies. After this king Chilperic was generous to cathedrals and churches and the poor.
   35. In these days Austrechild, wife of prince Gunthram, succumbed to this disease, but before she breathed out her worthless life, seeing she could not escape, she drew deep sighs and wished to have partners in her death, intending that at her funeral there should be mourning for others. It is said that she made a request of the king in Herodian fashion saying: "I would still have had hopes of life if I had not fallen into the hands of wicked physicians; for the draughts they gave me have taken my life away perforce and have caused me swiftly to lose the light of day. And therefore I beg you let my death not go unavenged, and I conjure you with an oath to have them slain by the sword as soon as I depart from the light; so that, just as I cannot live longer, so they too shall not boast after my death, and the grief of our friends and of theirs shall be one and the same." So speaking she gave up her unhappy soul. And the king after the customary period of public mourning fulfilled her wicked order, forced by the oath to his cruel wife. He ordered the two physicians who had attended her to be slain with the sword, and the wisdom of many believes that this was not done without sin.
   [36. Nanthinus, count of Angoulême, dies of the plague. He had been a bitter enemy of the bishops. 37. Death of Martin, bishop of Galicia. 38. The Arian queen of Spain, Gaisuenta, is enraged at her Catholic daughter­in­law. "She seizes the girl by the hair of her head, dashes her on the ground, kicks her for a longtime and covers her with blood and orders her to be stripped and ducked in the fish­pond." The girl however converts her husband but he is sent into exile. 39. Fredegunda brings about the death of Clovis, Chilperic's son. 40. Elafius, bishop of Châlons, and Eonius, exiled bishop of Vannes, die. 41. Chilperic seizes legates sent by the king of Galicia to king Gunthram. List of prodigies including a destructive wind of which Gregory says; "Its space was about seven acres in width but one could not estimate its length.'']
   42. Maurilio, bishop of the city of Cahorss was seriously ill of gout, but in addition to the pain which the humor caused, he subjected himself to added tortures. For he often put white­hot iron against his feet and legs in order to make his pain greater. While many were candidates for his office he himself preferred Ursicinus who had once been referendary to queen Vulthrogotha and he begged that Ursicinus be ordained before his death, and then passed away from the world. He was a very liberal almsgiver, very learned in the church writings, so much so that he often repeated from memory the succession of generations given in the books of the Old Testament which many find it difficult to remember. He was also just in judgments, and he defended the poor of his church from the hand of the wicked according to the judgment of Job: "I delivered the poor from the hand of the mighty and I helped the needy which had no helper. The mouth of the widow blessed me, for I was an eye to the blind, a foot to the lame, and a father to the weak."
   [43. Debate over the Trinity between Gregory and the Spanish Legate]
   44. At the same time king Chilperic wrote a little treatise to the effect that the holy Trinity should not be so called with reference to distinct persons but should merely have the meaning of God, saying that it was unseemly that god should be called a person like a man of flesh; affirming also that the Father is the same as Son and that the Holy Spirit also is the same as the Father and the Son. "Such," said he, "was the view of the prophets and patriarchs and such is the teaching the law itself has given." When he had had this read to me he said: "I want you and the other teachers of the church to hold this view." But I answered him: "Good king, abandon this belief; it is your duty to follow the doctrine which the other teachers of the church left to us after the time of the apostles, the teachings of Hilarius and Eusebius which you professed at baptism." Then the king was angry and said: "It is plain that in this case Hilarius and Eusebius are my bitter enemies." And I answered him: "It is better for you to be careful and not make enemies either of God or his saints. Now let me tell you that as persons the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct. It was not the Father who took on flesh, nor the Holy Spirit, but the Son, so that he who was Son of God became the son of a virgin also for the redemption of man. It was not the Father who suffered, nor the Holy Spirit, but the Son, so that he who had taken on flesh in the world, was himself offered for the world. And what you say about persons must be understood not in a material but in a spiritual sense. In these three persons, then, there is one glory, one eternity, one power." But he became excited and said: "I will explain these matters to wiser men than you and they will agree with me." I replied: "No wise man will he be but a fool, who will consent to follow your proposals." At this he ground his teeth and said no more. A few days later bishop Salvius of Albi visited him and he had this treatise read to him, begging him to accept his views. But upon hearing them Salvius was so revolted that if he could have laid hands on the paper containing the writing he would have torn it into bits. And so the king gave up the project. The king wrote also other books in verse following Sedulius as a model. But those poor verses have no relation of any sort with meter. He also added letters to our alphabet, namely ω as the Greeks have it, æ, the, υυι, which are written by the following characters: ω θ, æ ψ, the Ζ, υυι Δ. And he wrote to all the cities of his kingdom that boys should be taught these letters and that books written in previous times should be erased with pumice and rewritten.
   [45. Agricola, bishop of Chalon­sur­Sâone, dies. "He constructed many buildings in that city, erecting houses, and building a church which he supported with columns and adorned with vari-colored marbles and mosaics."]
   46. At that time also Dalmatius bishop of Rodez passed away, a man distinguished for every kind of holiness, an abstainer from food and the desires of the flesh, a great almsgiver and kind to all, steadfast enough in prayer and watching. He built a church, but frequently tore it down to build it better and left it unfinished. After his death, as usual there were many candidates for his office. And the priest Transobad, who at one time had been his archdeacon, was making a great effort for it, relying on the fact that he had put his son in care of Gogo who was then tutor to the king. Now the bishop had made a will in which he indicated to the king who was to receive this office after his death, adjuring him with terrible oaths not to appoint a stranger in that church, nor a greedy man, nor one entangled by marriage, but that one free from all these drawbacks should be put in his place, who would spend his days in the praise of the Lord and nothing else. Now the priest Transobad prepared a feast for the clergy in the city. And while they were seated one of the priests began to abuse shamelessly the bishop mentioned above, and he went so far as to call him a mad: man and a fool. While he was speaking the butler came to offer him a cup. He took it, but as he was raising it to his mouth he h began to tremble and the cup dropped from his hand and he leaned his head on the man next him and gave up the ghost. He was carried from the feast to the grave and covered with earth. After this the bishop's will was read in the presence of king Childebert and his chief men, and Theodosius who was then archdeacon in that city was ordained bishop.
   47. Now Chilperic heard of all the harm Leudast was doing to the churches of Tours and to all the people and he sent Ansoald thither. He came at the festival of St. Martin and, giving us and the people a choice, raised Eunomius to the office of count. Then Leudast perceived that he had lost his place and went to Chilperic saying: "Most pious king, up to now I have guarded the city of Tours; but now that I have been removed see how it will be guarded. For let me tell you that bishop Gregory purposes to surrender it to Sigibert's son." Upon hearing this the king said: "By no means, but you make this charge only for the reason that you have been removed. " But he answered: "There is more that the bishop says about you; for he says that the queen committed adultery with bishop Bertram." Then the king was enraged and struck and kicked him and ordered him to be loaded with chains and thrust into prison.
   48. Now as this book should soon be finished I wish to tell something of his actions; and first it seems best to describe in order his family, his native place, and his character. There is an island of Poitou called Gracina in which he was born to a slave (named Leuchadius) belonging to a vinedresser of the fisc. Thence he was sent to service and assigned to the royal kitchen. But as his eyes were bleared when he was young and the bitter smoke hurt them, he was removed from the pestle and promoted to the basket, but he only pretended to be happy among the fermented dough, and soon ran away and left his service. And when he had been brought back twice or three times and could not be prevented from running away, he was punished by having one ear cut off. Then as he was not able by any power to conceal the mark of disgrace on him, he fled to queen Marcovefa, whom king Charibert loved greatly and had married in her sister's place. She received him gladly and appointed him keeper of her best horses. Then he was filled with vanity and given over to pride and began to intrigue for the office of count of the stables. Getting this, he despised and disregarded all; he was puffed up with vanity, softened with wantonness, inflamed with greed and he hastened hither and thither in the service of his patroness. After her death, being now with plunder, he made gifts to king Charibert and began to hold a place with him. Then the sins of the people increased and he was sent as count to Tours, and here he was more uplifted by the pride of his high office and here he showed himself to be a greed plunderer, a loud­mouthed disputer and a foul adulterer. And here by sowing discord and bringing false charges he acquired no small treasure. After Charibert's death, when the city had fallen to Sigibert's share he went over to Chilperic and all that he had wickedly accumulated was taken by the adherents of the king I have named. Then king Chilperic took possession of Tours through his son Theodbert, I having by this time come to Tours, and he was strongly recommended to me by Theodobert to hold the office of count which he had held before. He showed himself very humble and submissive to us, swearing often by the tomb of the holy bishop that he would never go against reason and that he would be loyal to me in his own causes as well as in all needs of the church. For he was afraid that, as later happened, king Sigibert would bring the city again under his rule. When Sigibert died Chilperic succeeded him and Leudast again became count. But when Merovech came to Tours he plundered all Leudast's property. Now during the two years that Sigibert held Tours, Leudast lay hid among the Bretons. And when he took the office of count, as we have said, he was so foolish as to enter the bishop's house with breastplate and coat of mall, girt with a quiver and carrying a lance in his hand, and with a helmet on his head, being secure with no-one because he was an enemy to all. And if he sat a at trial with the chief men of the clergy and laity and saw anyone seeking justice, he would at once be transported into a rage and would pour out abuse on the citizens; he would order priests to be dragged away in fetters and soldiers beaten with clubs, and he showed such cruelty as can scarcely be described. And when Merovech, who had plundered his property, went away, Leudast began to accuse me falsely, asserting that Merovech had followed my advice in taking his property. But after doing me damage he again repeated his oath and gave a cloth from the tomb of the blessed Martin as security that he would never oppose me.
   49. But as it is a tedious thing to relate in order his perjuries and other crimes, let us come to the story of how he wished by vile and wicked calumnies to oust me from my place, and how the divine vengeance fell upon him, so that the saying was fulfilled "Every supplanter shall be supplanted," and again; "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein." After the many wrongs he did to me and mine, after many plunderings of the Church property, he united to himself the priest Riculf, as perverse and wicked as himself, and went so far as to say that I had made a charge against queen Fredegunda, asserting that if my archdeacon Plato or my friend Galien should be subjected to torture they would certainly convict me of such words. It was then that the king was angry, as I have stated above, and after beating and kicking him ordered him to be loaded with chains and thrust into prison. Now he said that he had Riculf, a cleric, on whose authority he said this. But this Riculfus was a sub­deacon, as unstable as Leudast, who a year before had entered into this design with Leudast, and had looked for causes of offense in order, forsooth, to go over to Leudast because I was angry, and he found them and went to him, and for four months they prepared all their tricks and laid their traps, and then he came back to me with Leudast and begged me to pardon and take him back. I did it, I confess, and publicly received a secret enemy into my household. And when Leudast went away, Riculf threw himself at my feet and said: "Unless you come quickly to my help I shall perish. Behold, at Leudast's urging I have said what I should not have. Now send me to another kingdom; if you do not I shall be seized by the king's men and suffer the punishment of death." And I said to him: "If you have said anything out of the way your words shall be on your own head; for I will not send you to another kingdom, lest I be held in suspicion by the king." After this Leudast became his accuser, saying that he had the words already mentioned from Riculf, the subdeacon. And he was bound and put under guard and Leudast was released. And Riculf said that Galien and the archdeacon Plato were present on the same day when the bishop said this. But the priest Riculf, who by this time had the promise of the bishop's office from Leudast, was so elated that he more than equaled Simon in his pride. And he who had sworn to me three times or more on the tomb of St. Martin, on the sixth day of Easter week made at me so furiously with abuse and spittings that he all but laid hands on me, confident, of course, in the trap he had prepared. On the next day, that is, the day before Easter Sunday, Leudast came to the city of Tours and pretending to have other business, seized Plato the archdeacon and Galien, and bound them and ordered them led to the queen, loaded with chains and without their robes. I heard of this while I sat in the bishop's house, and in sadness and worry I went into the oratory and took the book of David's song, that when opened a verse might give some consolation. And this is what I found: "He led them in hope and they did not fear, and the sea covered their enemies." Meantime they embarked on the river above the bridge which was supported by two boats, and the boat which carried Leudast sank, and if he had not escaped by swimming he would perhaps have perished with his comrades. And the other boat which was in tow of this one and carried the prisoners, was kept above water by God's help. So the prisoners were taken to the king and were immediately accused in such terms that their punishment would be death. But the king thought it over and freed them from chains and kept them unharmed in free custody. Now at the city of Tours duke Berulf and count Eunomius concocted a story that king Gunthram wished to take the city of Tours and " therefore, " said they, " the city ought to be guarded so that there would be no carelessness." They craftily set guards at the gates who pretended they were guarding the city but were really watching me. They also sent persons to advise me to take the valuables of the church and flee secretly to Clermont. But I did not take the advice. Then the king summoned the bishops of his kingdom and ordered the case carefully gone into. And when the clerk Riculf was talking secretly as he often did, and was telling many lies against me and my friends, Modestus, a carpenter, said to him, "Ill­fated man, who talk so insubordinately against your bishop. It would be better for you to be silent and to beg pardon from the bishop and obtain his favor." At this Riculf began to cry with a loud voice and say: "Behold the man who orders me to be silent that I may not make the truth public. Behold the queen's enemy who does not permit the charge against her to be looked into." This was at once reported to the queen. Modestus was seized, tortured whipped, put in chains, and kept under guard. And though he was between two guards and held by chains to a pillar, the guards fell asleep and at midnight he prayed to the Lord that his power should deign to visit a wretched man and that an innocent prisoner should be freed by the visitation of the bishops Martin and Medard. Then the chains were broken, the pillar was shattered, the door opened, and he came to the church of St. Medard where I was keeping watch by night.
   The bishops assembled at Braine and were ordered to meet in a house. Then the king came, and after greeting all and receiving their blessing, he took his seat. Then Bertram, bishop of Bordeaux, against whom and the queen this charge had been brought, explained the case and questioned me, saying that the charge had been brought against him and the queen by me. I denied in truth that I had said these things, saying others might have heard them but I had not invented them. Now outside the doors there was a great shouting among the people, who said: "Why are these charges made against a bishop of God? Why does the king prosecute such charges? The bishop could not have said such things even about a slave. Alas, Alas! Lord God help thy servant." But the king said: "The charge against my wife is an insult to me. If therefore it is your will that witnesses be heard against the bishop behold here they are. But if it is your decision that this should not be done, and the matter be left to the honor of the bishop, speak. I will gladly hear your command." All wondered both at the king's wisdom and his patience. Then all said: "An inferior cannot be believed against a bishop," and the case came to this, that masses were said at three altars and I cleared myself of these words by oath. And though it was contrary to the canons, still it was done for the king's sake. Moreover I cannot pass over the fact that queen Riguntha sympathized with my grief and fasted with all her household until the slave reported that I had done all as was arranged. Then the bishops returned to the king and said: "All that was required of the bishop has been done. What now remains for you, O king, except to be excommunicated together with Bertram, the accuser of his brother?" "O no," said he, "I only told what I had heard." When they asked who had told this, he answered that he had heard it from Leudast. But he had already fled, from the weakness either of his resolution or of his cause. Then all the bishops decided that the spreader of scandal, traducer of the queen, accuser of a bishop, should be kept out of all churches because he had withdrawn from their judgment. And they sent a letter with their signatures to the bishops who were not present. And so each returned to his own place. Leudast heard this and took refuge in the church of St. Peter in Paris. But when he heard the king's edict that he should be received by no one in his kingdom, and especially because his son whom he had left at home had died, he came to Tours secretly and carried his valuables to Bourges. And when the king's men pursued him he escaped by flight. But his wife was captured and sent into exile at a village of Tournai. But the clerk Riculf was sentenced to death. But I managed to secure his life, although I could not free him from torture. No material thing, no metal, could have endured such blows as this wretch. For from the third hour he hung suspended from a tree with his hands tied behind his back; at the ninth he was taken down, stretched on a wheel, beaten with clubs, rods, and doubled thongs, and not by one or two, but there were as many floggers as could reach his miserable limbs. When he was in danger, he disclosed the truth and made known the secret plot. He said that the charge had been made against the queen for this reason, that she might be driven from the kingdom and Clovis might kill his brothers and take the kingdom, and make Leudast a duke, and that the priest Riculf, who had been a friend of Clovis from the time of the blessed bishop Eufronius, might get the bishopric of Tours, while this clerk Riculf would get the archdeaconate. Returning to Tours by the grace of God we found the church thrown into confusion by the priest Riculf. Now this man had been raised from the poor under bishop Eufronius and made archdeacon. Later he was raised to the priesthood and returned to his own place. He was always lofty, inflated, and presumptuous While I was still with the king this man went shamelessly into the bishop's house as if already bishop, and made an inventory of the church silver and brought the rest of the property under his control. To the more important clergy he gave presents and distributed vineyards and meadows; the lesser he beat with clubs and many blows even with his own hand, saying: " Recognize your master, who has triumphed over his enemies and by his determination has cleared Tours of the people of Clermont." The wretch did not know that with the exception of five bishops all the other bishops of Tours are connected with my family stock. He used often to say to his friends that a wise man can be deceived only by perjuries. Now upon my return, when he continued to despise me and did not come to greet me as the other citizens did but rather threatened to kill me, by the advice of the provincials I had him removed to a monastery. And while he was closely watched there, messengers from bishop Felix who had been a supporter of the charge against me came; the abbot was deceived by perjuries and Riculf escaped and went to bishop Felix. He received him with respect though he should have cursed him. And Leudast hastened to Bourges and took with him all the treasures which he had got by spoiling the poor. Not long after, the people of Bourges with the judge of the place attacked him and carried off all his gold and silver and what he had brought with him, leaving nothing but what he had on him, and they would have taken life itself if he had not fled. Then he regained support and with some men of Tours attacked his plunderers, and killing one, he recovered some of his property and returned to the territory of Tours. Hearing this, duke Berulf sent his men well armed to seize him. He perceived that he would soon be taken and abandoned his property and fled to the church of St. Hilary in Poitiers. Duke Berulf sent the captured property to the king. Then Leudast left the church and attacked the houses of several and took plunder without concealment. Moreover he was often caught in adultery on the sacred porch itself. The queen was roused that a place consecrated to God should be so polluted, and ordered him to be cast from the holy church. And being cast out, he went a second time to his friends in Bourges asking to be concealed.
   50. Although I should have spoken before of my conversation with the blessed bishop Salvius, it slipped my mind, and I suppose is not wicked if it is written later. When I had said good­by to the king after the synod I mentioned, and was anxious to return home, I decided not to go before kissing this man and taking leave of him. And I found him in the entrance of the house of Braine. And I said to him that I was about to return home. Then we withdrew a little and speaking of this and that he said to me: "Do you see upon this roof what I see?" I replied: "Why, I see the roof-covering which the king lately gave orders to place there". But he asked: "Don't you see anything else?" And I said: "Nothing else." For I suspected that he was making a joke. And I added: "Tell me what more you see." But he drew a deep sigh and said; "I see the sword of divine wrath unsheathed and threatening this house." The bishop's words were not wrong; for twenty days later there died the two sons of the king whose deaths I have described before.


[1] Cf. ad aratrum reducere, to ravage thoroughly
[2] Great uncle to Gregory on his mother's side
[3] Gregory's great-uncle