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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity


from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world


A substantially authentic Merovingian royal diploma records the immunity confirmed by Clovis III, king of the Franks, to the monastery at Sithiu (now Saint-Bertin) (north-east Gaul) dedicated to *Mary (mother of Christ, S00033), the Apostles *Peter (S00036) and *Paul (S00008), and other *unnamed saints (S00518). Written in Latin in Gaul, 692.

Evidence ID

E06227

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Charter or diploma

MGH DD Mer. 134 (excerpt)

Chlodoueus rex Francorum [ viris inlustribus]. Si illa beneficia, quę parentes nostri ad loca sanctorum prestiterunt vel concesserunt, pro nostris oraculis confirmamus , <et> regiam consuetudinem exercemus et nobis ad laudem vel stabilitatem regni nostri in Dei nomine pertinere confidimus. Igitur venerabilis vir Bertinus abba de monasterio Sithiu, quod est in pago Taruanninse in honore sanctę Marię genetricis domini nostri Iesu Christi necnon et sancti Petri et Pauli apostolorum vel ceterorum domnorum sanctorum constructum, ad nostram accessit presentiam, clementię regni nostri suggessit, eo quod avus noster Chlodouius quondam rex de omnes curticellas vel villas [...] integra emunitate antecessore suo Mummolino qu[o]nd[am] vel ad predicto monasterio concessis[set] [...] Unde et preceptionem principum seu confirmationem avunculi nostri Chlothacharii et Childerici seu et genitoris nostri Theoderici quondam regis [...] nobis in presente ostendit relegendas, et ipsis beneficiis concessis de tempore usque nunc asserit conservatas. Sed pro firmitatis studium petiit memoratus abba celsitudini nostrę, ut hoc circa ipsum locum pro nostra auctoritate plenius confirmare deberemus. Cuius petitioni pro mercedis nostrę munere vel reverentia ipsius sancti loci ita prestitisse et in omnibus confirmasse cognoscite [...]

'Clovis, king of the Franks, to his noble men. If we confirm with our own words those gifts, which our parents granted or conceded to the places of the saints, we thus exercise royal custom, confident that this pertains to our praise, and to the security of our realm, in God's name. Therefore, that venerable man Bertin, abbot of the monastery of
Sithiu, which is constructed in the country of Thérouanne in honour of Saint Mary, mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and also the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and other holy lords, has come into our presence, and spoken to our royal clemency about the full immunity that our grandfather Clovis, the late king, had granted to his predecessor, the late Mummolinus, and to that aforesaid monastery, concerning all its estates and villae ... And he brought forth royal deeds and confirmations into our presence, those of our uncles Chlothar and Childeric and our father Theuderic, the late king, and laid claim to these beneficia which had been preserved up to now; and desiring security, the aforesaid abbot asked our majesty that we might fully confirm with our authority these things concerning that place. Know then, that for the riches of our own reward, and out of reverence for that holy place, we have granted his petition, and confirmed everything ...'

Text: Kölzer 2001, 339-42. Translation: B. Savill.

Cult Places

Cult building - monastic

Non Liturgical Activity

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings
Awarding privileges to cult centres

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots
Monarchs and their family

Source

According to the judgement of their most recent editor, 54 authentic or substantially authentic royal diplomas/charters survive from Merovingian Gaul which are dated or datable to the period up to ad 700. Of these, 34 appear to relate directly to the cult of saints, and are included in our database. All but one, possibly two (E06133, E06141), of the charters included here date from the 7th century, mostly its final quarter. Although a number of these diplomas have come down to us only in later cartulary copies, a remarkably large proportion (21 of our 34) survive as single-sheet, original manuscripts, the great majority of which come from the monastery of Saint-Denis. Due to the nature of western archival survivals, all these documents concern either land, legal immunities, or rights to tolls, and are preserved exclusively through interested religious institutions. For a hint, however, of the kind of Merovingian documents we may have lost, the scribal templates found in the Formulary of Marculf are suggestive (see e.g. E06231, E06233).

This
Sithiu/Saint-Bertin diploma survives in copies dating from the 12th century onwards; an earlier, 10th century copy is now lost.


Discussion

The Abbot Bertin mentioned here is the later Saint Bertin (ob. 709), in whose name the monastery would become better known.


Bibliography

Edition:
Kölzer, T.,
Die Urkunden der Merowinger, 2 vols. (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Diplomata; Hannover, 2001).

Further reading:
Brühl, C., Studien zu den merowingischen Königsurkunden, ed. T. Kölzer (Cologne, 2001).

Kölzer, T.,
Merowingerstudien, 2 vols (Hannover, 1998-1999).


Record Created By

Benjamin Savill

Date Last Modified

16/07/2019

Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00008Paul, the ApostlePaulusCertain
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristMariaCertain
S00036Peter, the ApostlePetrusCertain
S00518Saints, unnameddomni sanctiCertain


Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Benjamin Savill, Cult of Saints, E06227 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E06227