Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks

  1. Death of the holy bishop Salvius
  2. Fighting between men of Chartres and of Orleans
  3. Killing of Vidast, named also Avus
  4. Fredegunda takes refuge in a church; her treasures that were taken to Childebert
  5. King Gunthram goes to Paris
  6. The same king takes control of Charibert's kingdom
  7. Childebert's legates demand Fredegunda
  8. The king requests the people not to kill him as [they had] his brothers
  9. Riguntha's treasures are taken away and she is held prisoner by Desiderius
  10. Gundovald is made king; about Riguntha, king Chilperic's daughter
  11. The signs which appeared
  12. The burning of the country about Tours and St. Martin's miracle
  13. The burning and plundering of Poitiers
  14. King Childebert's legates are sent to prince Gunthram
  15. Fredegunda's wickedness
  16. Bishop Prætextatus's return
  17. Bishop Promotus
  18. What was said to the king to put him on his guard against being killed
  19. The queen is ordered to retire to a villa
  20. How she sent a man to assasinate Brunhilda
  21. Eberulf's flight and how he was watched
  22. His wickedness
  23. A Jew with his attendants is killed
  24. The plundering of Poitiers
  25. The despoiling of Marileif
  26. Gundovald goes the round of his cities
  27. The wrong done to bishop Magnulf
  28. Advance of the army
  29. Killing of Eberulf
  30. Gundovald's legates
  31. The relics of the holy martyr Sergius
  32. Other legates of Gundovald
  33. Childebert visits his uncle Gunthram
  34. Gundovald retires to Comminges
  35. The church of St. Vincent the martyr at Agen is plundered
  36. The conversation between Gundovald and the soldiers
  37. The attack on the city
  38. The killing of Gundovald
  39. The killing of bishop Sagittarius and Mummolus
  40. Mummolus's treasures
  41. A giant
  42. A miracle of St. Martin
  43. Desiderius and Waddo
  44. The woman with a spirit of divination
  45. The famine in this year
  46. Death of Christofor
  47. Civil war among the citizens of Tours


   1. Though it is my desire to continue the history which the previous books have left untold, still affection requires me first to tell somewhat concerning the blessed Salvius, who, as is well known, died in this year. [1] As he himself was wont to relate he continued for a long time in the secular garb and with secular judges devoted himself to worldly cases, but yet he never entangled himself in the passions in which the mind of the young is usually involved. And finally when the odor of the divine breath had touched his inward parts, he left the warfare of the world and sought a monastery, and being even then devoted to godliness he understood that it was better to be poor with the fear of God than to pursue the gains of the perishing world. In this monastery he continued a long time under the rule established by the fathers. And when he had reached a more mature strength both of understanding and of life, the abbot who was over this monastery died and he took up the task of feeding the flock; and whereas he should have shown himself more commonly among his brethren for their correction, after he had attained this honor he was more retiring; and so he sought for himself a more secluded cell; now in the former, as he himself told, he had changed the skin of his body more than nine times, from scourging himself with too great determination. Then after receiving the office, while he devoted himself to prayer and reading, contented with this abstinence, he kept considering whether it was better for him to be hidden among the monks or to take the name of abbot among the people. Why say more? He said farewell to his brethren and they to him, and was immured. While thus immured he continued in all abstinence more than before; and in his love of charity he sought when any Strangers came to bestow his prayers on them and administer the grace of the blessed bread abundantly, which brought sound health to many who were infirm. And once he lay panting on his bed worn out by a high fever, and behold his cell was suddenly brightened by a great light and quivered. And he lifted his hands to heaven and breathed out his spirit while giving thanks. With mingled cries of mourning the monks and his mother took the dead man's body out [of the cell], washed and clothed it and placed it on a bier and spent the night in weeping and singing psalms. In the morning while preparations for the funeral went on the body began to move on the bier. And behold his cheeks regained color and, as if roused from a deep sleep, he stirred and opened his eyes and lifted his hands and said: "Merciful God, why hast Thou allowed me to return to this gloomy place of life on earth, since Thy mercy in heaven would be better for me than vile life in this world." His people were wonderstruck and asked what such a prodigy could mean, but he made no answer to their questions. He rose from the bier, feeling no harm from the painful experience he had suffered, and continued for three days without the support of food or drink. On the third day he called the monks and his mother and said: "Listen, dear ones, and understand that what you look upon in this world is nothing but it is like the prophet Solomon's song, 'All is vanity.' Happy is he who can live in the world so as to deserve to see the glory of God in heaven." Having said this he began to doubt whether to say more or be silent. When he said no more he was beset by the entreaties of his brethren to tell what he had seen, and he went on: "Four days ago when my cell quivered and you saw me lifeless, I was seized by two angels and carried up to the high heavens, so that I thought I had under my feet not only this filthy world but the sun also, and the moon, the clouds and the stars. Then I was taken through a door brighter than this light into that dwelling in which all the pavement was like shining gold and silver, a brightness and spaciousness beyond description, and such a multitude of both sexes was there that the length and breadth of the throng could not be seen. A way was made for me through the press by the angels who guided me, and we came to a place which I had already seen from a distance; a cloud hung over it brighter than any light, in which no sun or moon or star could be seen, but excelling all these it gleamed more brightly than the light of nature, and a voice came out of the cloud like a voice of many waters. Then I, a sinner, was humbly greeted by men in it, priestly and worldly dress who, my guides told me, were martyrs and confessors whom we worship here with the greatest reverence. I stood where I was bidden and a very sweet odor enveloped me so that I was refreshed by this sweetness and up to the present I have wanted no food or drink. And I heard a voice saying: 'Let him return to the world since he is necessary to our churches.' It was only the voice that was heard, for it could not be seen who spoke. And I threw myself on the pavement and said with loud weeping: 'Alas, Alas, Lord, why didst Thou show me this if I was to be deprived of it. Behold today Thou wilt cast me out from Thy face to return to the sinful world and never be able to return here again. I beseech Thee, Lord, not to take Thy mercy from me but permit me to stay here and not fall thither and perish.' And the voice which spoke to me said: 'Go in peace, for I am your keeper until I bring you back to this place.' Then I was left alone by my companions and departed weeping by the gate by which I entered and returned here." When he had said this and all present were wonderstruck, God's saint began to weep and say: "Woe is me who have dared to reveal such a mystery. For the pleasant odor which I brought from the holy place, by which it I have been supported the last three days without eating or drinking, has gone. My tongue too is covered with grievous sores and swollen so that it seems to fill the whole of my mouth. And I know that it was not well pleasing to my Lord God to make these secrets known. But Thou knowest, Lord, that I did this in simplicity of heart, not in boastfulness. I beg Thee, be kind and do not abandon me, according to Thy promise." After this he said no more and took food and drink. Now as I write this I am afraid that some reader may not believe it, according to what Sallust the historian says: "When you speak of the virtue and fame of good men each calmly believes what he thinks it easy for himself to do; beyond that he considers it falsely invented." For I call all-powerful God to witness that I learned from his own lips all that I have told. A long time after, the blessed man was taken from his cell, chosen bishop, and ordained against his will. And when he was, I think, in his tenth year as bishop, the plague grew worse in Albi, and the greatest part of the people had now died and few of the citizens remained, but the blessed man, like a good shepherd, never consented to leave the place, but he continually urged those who were left to devote themselves to prayer and to keep watch continually and to be engaged always in good works and profitable thought, saying: "Do this so that if God wishes you to go from this world you can enter not into judgment but into rest." And when by God's revelation, as I suppose, he recognized the time of his calling, he made himself a tomb and washed his body and clothed it; and thus always intent upon heaven he breathed out his blessed spirit. He was a man of great holiness and not greedy at all; he never wished to possess gold. If he took it under compulsion he at once paid it out to the poor. In his time when Mummolus the patrician took many captives from that city he followed him and ransomed them all. And the Lord gave him such favor with that people that the very men who took the captives made him concessions in the price and also gave him gifts. And so he restored the captives taken from his country to their former liberty. I have heard many good things about this man, but as I desire to return to the history I have undertaken I pass them over for the most part.
   2. Now when Chilperic had died and had found the death he had long been looking for, the men of Orleans united with those of Blois made an attack on the people of Châteaudun and defeated them, taking them off their guard; they burned their houses and crops and whatever they could not carry away conveniently, and they plundered flocks and herds and carried off all that was not fast. Upon their departure the men of Châteaudun with the rest of the men of Chartres pursued them closely and treated them in the same way as they were treated, leaving nothing in their houses or outside their houses or of their houses. And while they were still abusing one another and raging, and the men of Orleans were ready to fight the men of Chartres, the counts intervened and at a hearing before them peace was made, on condition that on the day when court was to be held the side which had flamed out wrongfully against the other should make payment according to justice. And thus the war was ended.
   [3. Vidast is slain in a quarrel with the Saxon Childeric, who settles for it by a payment to Vidast's sons. 4. Fredegunda takes refuge in a church. Childebert gets some of her treasures. 5. Fredegunda invites Gunthram to take Chilperic's kingdom and become guardian to her son. He goes to Paris. Childebert also approaches the city]
   6. When the people of Paris refused to admit Childebert he sent legates to king Gunthram, saying: "I know, most righteous father, that it is not unknown to your goodness how up to the present time the enemy has defrauded us both so that neither of us could find justice for what was due him. Therefore I humbly beg you now to keep the agreement that was made between us after my father's death." Then king Gunthram said to the legates: "O wretches, always faithless, you have no truth in you and you, do not stick to your promises; behold, you failed in all your promises to me and entered into a new compact with king Chilperic to drive me from my kingdom and divide my cities between you. Here is your compact; here are your very signatures by which you connived together. With what face do you now ask me to receive my nephew Childebert whom you wished to make my enemy by your perversity? " To which .the legates said: "If you are so possessed with anger as not to keep your promises to your nephew, at least cease taking what is due to him from Charibert's kingdom." But he replied: "Here is the agreement entered into with my brothers that whoever entered Paris without his brother's consent should lose his part, and Polioctus the martyr and Hilarius and Martin the confessors were to be his judges and punishers. After this my brother Sigibert entered, who died by the judgment of God and lost his part. So did Chilperic. Now they lost their parts by these wrongdoings. Therefore since they have died by the judgment of God in accordance with the curses in the compact, I will subject all Charibert's kingdom with its treasures to my rule by right of law, nor will I grant anything to any one from it except of my own free will. Away with you then, you everlasting liars and traitors, and take this word to your king."
   7. They departed, but legates came again from Childebert to the king I have mentioned, demanding queen Fredegunda, and saying: "Give up that murderess who strangled my aunt [2] and killed my father and uncle and also slew my cousins with the sword." But he answered: "In the court which we hold we decide everything and consider what ought to be done." For he was supporting Fredegunda and used often to invite her to dinner promising that he would be her strongest defender. And one day when they were dining together the queen rose and said farewell but was detained by the king, who said: "Eat something more." But she replied: "Pardon me, pray, my lord, for according to the custom of women I must rise because of having conceived." Upon hearing this he was amazed, knowing that it was the fourth month since she had borne a son, but he permitted her to rise. Now the leading men of Chilperic's kingdom, like Ansoald and the rest gathered about his son, who, as we have stated, was four months old and was named Clothar, and they exacted oaths in the cities that formerly looked to Chilperic to be faithful to king Gunthram and his nephew Clothar. And king Gunthram by process of justice restored all that king Chilperic's followers had wrongfully taken from various sources, and he himself gave much to the churches, and he gave effect to the wills of the dead which had contained bequests to churches and had been broken by Chilperic, and he was generous to many and gave much to the poor.
   8. But inasmuch as he had no trust in the men among whom he had come, he guarded himself with armed men, and never went to church or to the other places he took pleasure in visiting without a strong guard. And so one Lord's day, when the deacon had called for silence among the people for the hearing of the mass, the king rose and addressed the people: "I adjure you, men and women who are present, to think it worth while to keep unbroken faith with me, and not to kill me as you lately did my brothers, and to allow me for three years at least to help my nephews who have become my adopted sons. For it may perchance happen if I die while they are little that you will perish at the same time-may the eternal Deity not allow it-since there will be no one of our family strong enough to protect you. " When he said this all the people poured forth prayers to the Lord for the king.
   9. While this was going on, Riguntha, king Chilperic's daughter arrived at Toulouse with the treasures described above. And seeing she was now near the Gothic boundary she began to contrive excuses for delay, and her people told her also that she ought to remain there for a time since they were wearied with the journey and their clothing was rough, their shoes torn, and the harness and carriages which had been brought on wagons were not yet put together. They ought first to make all these preparations with care and then set out on the journey and be received in all elegance by her betrothed, and not be laughed at by the Goths if they appeared among them in a rough condition. While they were delaying for these reasons, Chilperic's death was reported to duke Desiderius. And he gathered his bravest men and entered Toulouse and finding the treasures took them from the queen's control and put them in a certain house sealed up and under the guard of brave men, and he allowed the queen a scanty living until she should return to the city.
   [10. Gundovald is proclaimed king. 11. A list of prodigies pointing to Gundovold's death. 12. Tours is forced to become subject to Guntram. 13. Poitiers also comes under Gunthram's control.]
   14. Now when court was held, bishop Egidius, Gunthram Boso, Sigivald, and many others were sent by king Childebert to king Gunthram, and they went in to him and the bishop said: "Most righteous king, we thank the all­powerful God that he has retored you after many toils to your own land and kingdom." And the king said to him: "Yes, it is to the King of kings and Lord of lords who in his mercy thought it right to accomplish this, that due thanks should be given. For it is certainly not to you, whose treacherous counsel and perjuries my land was burned over a year ago; you never kept good faith with any man; your crooked dealings are everywhere; it is not a bishop, but an enemy of my kingdom that you show yourself to be." At these the bishop, though enraged, was silent; But one of the legates spoke: "Your nephew Childebert begs you to order the cites which his father held to be given back to him." At this he replied: "I told you before that our compacts give them to me and therefore I refuse to restore them." Another of the legates said: "Your nephew asks you to order the sorceress Fredegunda, through whom many kings have been killed, to be surrendered to him, so that he can avenge the death of his father, uncle and cousins." "She shall not be given into his power," said Gunthram, "because she has a son who is king. Besides I do not believe that what you say against her is true." Then Gunthram Boso approached the king as if he were going to make some request. But since it had been certainly reported that he had raised Gundovald up as king, Gunthram spoke before him and said: "Your enemy of my country and kingdom, who went a few years ago to the East for the express purpose of bringing Ballomer" - so he used to call Gundovald - "into my kingdom, you who are always treacherous and never perform what you promise." Gunthram Boso replied: "You are lord and king and sit on a royal throne ­ and no one ventures to make answer to what you say. Now I say that I am innocent of this charge. And if there is any one of my rank who secretly makes this charge against me, let him come now openly and make it. Then, most righteous king, I will leave it to the judgment of God to decide when he sees us fighting on a level field." At this all were silent and the king added: "All ought to be eager to drive from our territories an adventurer whose father was a miller; and to tell the truth his father was in charge of the combs and wove wool." And although it is possible for one man to be master of two trades, still one of them answered in ridicule of the king: "Therefore, as you say, this man had two fathers at the same time, one a worker in wool, the other a miller. Fie on you, king, to say such an outlandish thing. For it is an unheard of thing that one man should have two fathers at the same time except in a spiritual sense." Then they laughed without restraint and another legate said: "We bid you good­by, O king. Although you have refused to restore your nephew's cities we know that the ax is still safe that was driven into your brothers' heads. It will soon strike yours." Thus they went off in a quarrelsome spirit. Then the king, inflamed at their insults, ordered his men to throw on their heads as they went rotted horse­dung, chips, hay and straw covered with filth, and the stinking refuse from the city. And they were badly fouled and went off amid unmeasured insult and abuse.
   15. While queen Fredegunda was living in the church at Paris, Leonard, formerly an officer of the household, who then came from Toulouse, went to her and began to tell her of the abuse and insults offered to her daughter, saying: 'At your command I went with queen Riguntha and I saw her humiliation and how she was plundered of her treasures and everything. And I escaped by flight and have come to report to my mistress what has happened. " On hearing this she was enraged and ordered him despoiled in the very church and she took away his garments and the belt which he had as a gift from king Chilperic and ordered him out of her presence. The cooks and bakers, too, and whoever she learned of as returning from this journey, she left beaten, plundered, and maimed. She tried to ruin by wicked accusations to the king, Nectar, brother of bishop Baudegysil, and she said he had taken much from the treasury of the dead king. Moreover she said he had taken from the storehouses sides of meat and a great deal of wine, and she requested that he should be bound and thrust into prison darkness. But the king's patience and his brother's help prevented this. She did many foolish things and did not fear God in whose church she was taking refuge. She had with her at the time a judge, Audo, who had assisted in many wrongdoings in the time of the king. For together with Mummolus the prefect he subjected to the state tax many Franks who in the time of king Childebert the elder were free born. After the king's death he was despoiled by them and stripped, so that he had nothing left except what he could carry away. For they burned his house and would have taken his life if he had not fled to the church with the queen.
   [16. Praetextatus returns to the bishopric of Rouen.]
   17. Promotus had been made bishop in Châteaudun by order of king Sigibert and had been removed after that king's death on the ground that the town was a parish of Chartres - and judgment had been given against him to the effect that he should perform only the functions of a priest. He now came to the king and begged to receive again his ordination as bishop in the town mentioned. But Pappalus, bishop of Chartres, opposed him and said: "It is my parish," pointing especially to the decision of the bishops, and Promotus could obtain nothing more from the king than permission to take again his own property which he had with the territory of the town, on which he lived with his mother who was still living.
   [18. King Gunthram fears assassination. 19. Fredegund ordered to retire to her villa at Reuil. 20. She sends a clerk to assassinate Brunhilda. When he returns without success she has his feet and hands cut off.]
   21. After this when king Gunthram returned to Chalon and endeavored to inquire into his brother's death and the queen had put the blame on the chamberlain Eberulf - for she had invited him to reside with her after the king's death but could not prevail upon him to do so - this enmity accordingly broke out and the queen said that the king had been killed by him and that he had taken much from the treasures and so gone off to Tours, and therefore if the king wished to avenge his brother's death he might know that Eberulf was the leader in the matter. Then the king swore to all his nobles that he would destroy not only Eberulf himself but also all his kinsmen to the ninth degree, in order that by their death the wicked custom of killing kings might be ended. On learning this, Eberulf fled to the church of St. Martin, whose property he had often seized. Then upon the pretext of watching him the men of Orleans and Blois came in turn to keep guard, and at the end of fifteen days returned with great booty, taking horses, flocks and herds, and whatever they could carry off. But the men who took away the blessed Martin's horses got into a quarrel and pierced one another with lances. Two, who were taking mules, went to a house near by and asked for a drink. And when the man said he had none they raised their lances to attack him but he drew his sword and thrust them both through and they fell dead; Saint Martin's horses were returned. Such evils were done at that time by the men of Orleans that they cannot be described.
   22. While this was going on Eberulf's property was being granted to different persons; his gold and silver and other valuables that he had with him he offered for sale. What he held in trust was confiscated. The herds of horses, swine, and pack­animals were taken His house within the walls which he had taken from the possession of the church and which was full of grain, wine, sides of meat, and many other things, was completely cleaned out and nothing but the bare walls remained. Because of this he regarded me with great suspicion although I was running faithfully on his errands, and he kept promising that if he ever regained the king's favor he would take vengeance on me for what he suffered. But God, to whom the secrets of the heart are revealed, knows that I helped him disinterestedly as far as I could. And although in former times he had laid many traps for me in order get St. Martin's property, still there was a reason why I should get them, namely because I had taken his son from the holy font. But I believe it was the greatest drawback to the unlucky man that he showed no respect for the holy bishop. For he often engaged in violence within the very portico that is close to the saint's feet, and was continually occupied with drunkenness and vanities; and when a priest refused to give him wine, since he was plainly drunk already, he crushed him down on a bench and beat him with his fists and with other blows, so that he seemed to be almost dying; and perhaps he would have died if the cupping glasses of the physicians had not helped him. Now because of his fear of the king he had his lodging in the audience chamber of the holy church. And when the priest who kept the door keys had closed the other doors and gone, girls went in with the rest of his attendants by the door of the audience chamber and looked at the paintings on the walls and fingered the ornaments of the holy tomb, which was a wicked crime in the eyes of the religious. And when the priest learned of this he drove nails in the door and fitted bars within. And after dinner when he was drunk he noticed this, and as we were singing in the church on account of the service at nightfall, he entered in a rage and began to attack me with abuse and curses, reviling me, among other things, because I wished to keep him away from the holy bishops' tomb cover. But I was amazed that such madness should possess the man and tried to calm him with soothing words. But as I could not overcome his rage by gentle words I decided to be silent. And finding that I would say nothing he turned to the priest and overwhelmed him with abuse. For he assailed both him and me with vile language and various insults. But when we saw that he was so to speak possessed by a demon, we went out of the holy church and ended the disgraceful scene and the service at the same time, being especially indignant that he had become so abusive before the very tomb, without respect for the holy bishop.
   In these days I saw a vision which I told him in the holy church saying: "I thought that I was celebrating mass in this holy church and when the altar with the offerings was now covered with a silk cloth, I suddenly saw king Gunthram entering and he said in a loud voice, 'Drag out the enemy of my family, tear the murderer away from God's sacred altar.' And when I heard him I turned to you and said: 'Wretch, take hold of the altar­cloth with which the holy gifts are covered, lest you be cast out of here.' And although you laid hold of it you held it with a loose hand and not manfully. But I stretched out my hands and opposed my breast against the king's breast, saying: 'Do not cast this man out of the holy church lest you incur danger to your life, lest the holy bishop estroy you by his power. Do not kill yourself with your own weapon because if you do this you will lose the present life and the eternal one.' But when the king opposed me you let go the cloth and came behind me. And I was very much annoyed at you. And when you returned to the altar you took hold of the cloth, but again let go. And while you held it without spirit and I manfully resisted the king I woke up in terror, not knowing what the dream meant." Now when I had told it to him he said: "It is a dream that you saw because it strongly agrees with my purpose." And I said to him: "And what is your purpose?" He replied: "I have determined that if the king orders me to be dragged from this place I will hold to the altar­cloth with one hand and with the other draw my sword and first kill you and then as many clerks as I can reach. And after this it would not be a misfortune for me to die, if I first took vengeance on this saint's clerks." I heard this and was amazed, and wondered why it was that the devil spoke by his mouth. For he never had any fear of God. For while he was at liberty his horses and flocks were let go among the crops and vineyards of the poor. And if they were driven away by the men whose labor they were destroying these were at once beaten by his men. In this trouble in which he was he often told how many of the blessed bishop's possessions he had taken unjustly. In fact the year before he had urged on a certain foolish citizen and caused him to summon the bailiffs of the church. Then, without regard for justice, he had taken property which the church formerly possessed under pretense of having bought it, giving the man the gold ornament on his belt. Moreover he acted perversely in many other things to the end of his life, which we shall tell of later.
   23. In this year Armentarius, a Jew, with one attendant of his own sect and two Christians, came to Tours to demand payment of the bonds which Injuriosus, ex­vicar, and Eunomius, ex­count, had given to him on account of the tribute. And calling on the men, he received a promise to pay the sum with interest, and they said to him besides: "If you will come to our house we will pay what we owe and honor you with presents also, as is right." He went and was received by Injuriosus and placed at dinner, and when the feast was over and night came, they arose and passed from one place to another. Then, as they say, the Jews and the two Christians also were killed by Injuriosus's men, and thrown into a well which was near his house. Their kinsmen heard what ad been done and came to Tours and information was given by certain men and they found the well and took the bodies out, while Injuriosus vigorously denied that he had been involved in this matter. After this it came to trial, but as he denied it with vigor, as I have said, and they had no means of proving him guilty, it was decided that he should take oath that he was innocent. But they were not satisfied with this and they set the trial before king Childebert However neither the money nor the bonds of the dead Jew were found. Many said at the time that Medard the tribune was involved in this crime, because he too had borrowed money from the Jew. However Injuriosus went to the trial before king Childebert and waited for three days until sunset. But as they did not come and he was not examined on the case by any one, he returned home.
   [24. The territory of Poitiers is devastated and its people are forced to declare their allegiance to Gunthram a second time.]
   25. Marileif, who had been regarded as the chief physician in king Chilperic's household, they attacked most eagerly. And although he had been well plundered already by duke Gararic he was a second time stripped bare by these, so that he had no substance left. They took away his horses, gold, silver, and other valuables alike, and subjected him to the control of the church. For his father's service had been to attend to the mills of the church, and his brothers and cousins and other relatives were attached to the kitchens and mills of their masters.
   [26. Gundovald goes about among the southern cities exacting the oath of allegiance. 27. He enters Toulouse and exiles bishop Magnulf. 28. Gunthram's army marches south from Poitiers. 29. Eberulf is slain by Claudius. 30. A legate of Gundovald is captured by Gunthram. 31. Gundovald obtains a piece of the finger bone of the martyr Sergius, hearing that an Oriental king had defeated his enemy by the help of one of Sergius' finger bones. 32. Two legates of Gundovald are taken and tortured. 33. Friendship is reestablished between Gunthram and Childebert. 34. Gundovald takes refuge in Comminges. 35. March of Gunthram's army to Comminges. 36. Gunthram's men outside the wall abuse Gundovald and he answers with an account of his life.]
   37. The fifteenth day of this siege had dawned when Leudeghisel began to make ready new engines to destroy the city, wagons carrying battering rams covered with woven branches, and planks under which the army was to move forward to tear down the walls. But when they came near they were so overwhelmed with stones that all who got near the wall perished. They threw upon them pots of burning pitch and fat and hurled jars full of stones down on them. And when night ended the contest the army returned to the camp. Now Gundovald had on his side Chariulf, a very rich and powerful man, with whose store­rooms the city was very full, and it was on his substance that they were chiefly supported. And Bladast saw what was being done and was afraid that Leudeghisel would win the victory and put them to death, so he set fire to the bishop's house, and when the people shut in the city ran to put the fire out he slipped away and departed. In the morning the army rose again for battle and they made bundles of rods as if to fill the deep trench which lay on the east: but here the engine could do no harm. And Sagittarius the bishop went frequently around the walls in arms and from the wall hurled stones with his own hand at the enemy.
   38. Finally when those attacking the city saw that they could accomplish nothing, they sent secret messages to Mummolus saying: "Recognize your lord and finally give up your perversity. What madness possesses you to become a follower of an unknown man? For your wife and your daughters have been captured and your sons have been already slain. What end are you coming to? What do you expect except to perish?" He received their message and replied: "Already, as I see, our kingdom has reached its end and its power fails. One thing is left; if I learn that I have security of life, I can relieve you of great trouble." When the messengers left, bishop Sagittarius with Mummolus, Chariulf and Waddo hastened to the church and there they swore to one another that if they should be assured of life they would give up their friendship for Gundovald and betray him to the enemy. The messengers returned and promised them security of life. And Mummolus said: "Let this be done; I will betray him into your hand and I will recognize my master the king and hasten to his presence." Then they promised that if he did this they would receive him to their friendship, and if they could not secure his pardon from the king they would place him in a church that he might avoid the punishment of death. This they promised with an oath and then departed. And Mummolus went to Gundovald with bishop Sagittarius and Waddo and said: "You were present and know what oaths of faithfulness we took to you. But now accept wholesome counsel and go down from this city and present yourself to your brother as you have often desired to do. For we have spoken with these men and they have told us that the king does not wish to lose your support because too few remain of your family." But he understood their treachery and bursting into tears said: "It was at your invitation I came to these Gauls, and of my treasures comprising a great amount of silver and gold and various articles of value, some have been kept in Avignon and some have been taken by Gunthram Boso. And next to God's help I placed all my hope in you, and to you intrusted my counsels and by your help always wished to reign. Now let your settlement be with God if you have lied to me. For he will judge my cause." To this Mummolus replied: "We are not speaking deceitfully to you; and lo! brave men are standing at the gate awaiting your coming. Now lay down my gilded belt that you are wearing that you may not seem to go forth boastingly and gird on your sword and give me mine back." He answered: "There is a double meaning in what you say since you are taking away the things of yours that I have used as a token of affection." But Mummolus swore that no harm should be done him. Accordingly they went out of the gate and he was received by Ollo, count of Bourges, and by Boso. And Mummolus returned into the city with his followers and barred the gate very securely. And when Gundovald saw that he was betrayed into the hands of his enemies he raised his hands and eyes to heaven and said: "Eternal judge, true avenger of the innocent, God from whom all justice comes, whom lying displeases, in whom is no craft or wicked cunning, to Thee I commend my cause, praying that Thou mayst be a swift avenger upon those who have betrayed an innocent man into the hands of his enemies." Having said this he crossed himself and went off with the men I have mentioned. And when they had gone some distance from the gate, as the whole valley around the city is precipitous he was given a push by Ollo and fell, Ollo calling out: "There is your Ballomer, who says he is brother and son of a king." And he threw his lance and wished to pierce him but it was checked by the links of Gundovald's coat of mail, and did him no injury. Then when he rose and attempted to climb the mountain Boso threw a stone and struck his head. And he fell and died. And the whole throng came and thrust their lances into him and tied his feet with a rope and dragged him through all the camp of the armies, and they tore out his hair and beard and left him unburied in the place where he was killed. The next night the leaders secretly carried off all the treasures they could find in the city, together with the church utensils. And in the morning they opened the gates and admitted the army and gave over all the common folk inside to the edge of the sword, butchering also the bishops of the Lord with their attendants at the very altars of the churches. And after they had killed all so that not one remained, they burned the whole city, both churches and other buildings, and left nothing but bare ground.
   39. Now Leudeghisel, on his return to the camp with Mummolus, Sagittarius, Chariulf and Waddo, sent messengers secretly to the king to ask what he wished done with them. And he gave orders to put them to death. But Waddo and Chariulf by that time had left their sons as hostages and gone off. When the word about their death had come and Mummolus heard of it, he put on his armor and went to Leudeghisel's hut. And Leudeghisel saw him and said to him: "Why do you come thus as if ready to flee?" And he answered: "The word that was given is not to be kept, I see; for I know that I am close to death." But Leudeghisel replied: "I will go out and settle everything." He went out and immediately by his command the house was surrounded in order that Mummolus might be killed. But he made a long resistance against his assailants and at last came to the door and as he stepped out two with lances struck him on each side, and so he fell and died. On seeing this the bishop was overwhelmed with fear and one of the bystanders said to him: " Behold with your own eyes, bishop, what is being done. Cover your head to escape recognition and make for the woods and hide for a little time, and when their anger passes you can escape." He took the advice, but while he was trying to get away with his head covered, a certain man drew his sword and cut off his head, hood and all. Then each and all returned home, plundering and killing along the way. In these days Fredegunda sent Chuppan to Toulouse to bring her daughter thence as best he could. Now many said that he was sent in case he found Gundovald alive to entice him with many promises and bring him to her. But since Chuppan could not do his he took Rigunda and brought her back from that place amid great scorn and contempt.
   [40. Mummolus's treasures, amounting to two hundred and fifty­two talents of silver and a greater value in gold, are taken. 41. A giant "two or three feet taller than the tallest men" is taken to King Guntrham. 42. The count of Bourges attempts to fine "St. Martin's men" for not taking part in the expedition against Gundovald. 43. Desiderius, Waddo, and Chariulf escape.]
   44. There was, at this time, a woman who had a spirit of divination and won great gain for her owners by prophesying and she won such favor from them that she was set free and left to her own devices. And if any one suffered from theft or any wrongdoing would at once tell where the thief had gone, to whom he had given the property, or what he had done with it. She gathered together gold and silver every day and went forth in rich clothing so that she was thought among the people to be something divine But when this was reported to Ageric, bishop of Verdun, he sent to arrest her. When she was arrested and brought to him he perceived, according to that which we read in the Acts of the Apostles, that there was in her an unclean spirit of divination And when he said a formula of exorcism over her and anointed her forehead with holy oil, the demon cried out and revealed to the bishop what it was. But since he could not drive it from the woman she was allowed to go. And the woman saw that she could not dwell in the place and she went off to queen Fredegunda and remained hid.
   45. In this year a severe famine oppressed almost all of the Gauls. Many dried and ground into powder grape seeds and oat chaff and fern roots and mixed a little flour with it and made bread; many cut straw and did the same. Many who had no flour ate different herbs which they gathered, and in consequence swelled up and died. Many too wasted away and died of starvation. At that time the traders plundered the people greatly selling scarcely a peck of grain or half measure of wine for the third of a gold piece. They subjected the poor to slavery in return for a little food.
   [46. Christofer, a trader, is killed by his Saxon slaves, one of whom is caught and executed. 47. Quarrel between two citizens of Tours]



[1] Salvius died Sept 10, 584. Chilperic's death which closes Book VI occurred in 584.
[1] Galesuenta, see p. 90