Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1738
Presbyter Anastasius is buried alive by his bishop, Cautinus of Clermont, because he refuses to pass to him the property which he has received from Queen Clotild, AD 551/571. Account of Gregory of Tours, "Histories", Tours (Gaul), AD 573-594.
Erat enim tunc temporis Anastasius presbiter, ingenuus genere, qui per chartas gloriosae memoriae Chrodigildis reginae proprietatem aliquam possidebat. Quem plerumque conventum episcopus rogat suppliciter, ut ei chartas supradictae reginae daret sibique possessionem hanc subderet. Sed ille cum voluntatem sacerdotis sui implere differret eumque episcopus nunc blanditiis provocaret, nunc minis terreret, ad ultimum invitum urbi exhiberi praecepit ibique inpudenter teneri et, nisi instrumenta daret, iniuriis adfici et fame negari iussit. Sed ille virili repugnans spiritu, numquam praebuit instrumenta, dicens, satius sibi esse ad tempus inaedia tabescere quam sobolem in posterum miseram derelinqui.
Anastasius is then buried alive in the sarcophagus underneath the church of Saint Cassius the Martyr. He is miraculously freed. He makes his way back to his house.
Domum igitur suam ingressus, inquisitis chartis, quas ei memorata regina tradiderat, ad Chlotharium regem defert, indicans, qualiter ab episcopo suo vivens sepulturae fuerat mancipatus, stupescentibus autem omnibus et dicentibus, numquam vel Neronem vel Herodem tale facinus perpetrasse, ut homo vivens sepulchro reconderetur. Advenit autem ad Chlotharium regem Cautinus episcopus, sed accusante presbitero, victus confususque discessit. Presbiter autem, acceptis a rege praeceptionibus, res suas ut libuit defensavit posseditque ac suis posteris dereliquit.
(ed. Krusch 1937: 142-144)
There was at that time [in Clermont] a presbyter called Anastasius, a man of free birth, who owned a certain property which had been granted to him by Queen Clotild of glorious memory [wife of King Clovis I]. Bishop Cautinus [of Clermont] summoned him several times and asked him to surrender the title-deeds (chartae) given by the aforementioned queen and to make the property over to him. Anastasius refused to submit to the demands of his priest (sacerdos). The bishop from time to time wanted to change his mind by flatteries or by making threats, and finally he ordered Anastasius to be brought into the city against his will. He had him locked up in the most outrageous manner and commanded unjustly to have him beaten and starved to death if he would not hand over the documents (instrumenta). Anastasius had the courage to resist and he refused steadfastly to produce the papers, saying that he preferred to waste away for lack of food rather than leave his children destitute.
Anastasius is then buried alive in the sarcophagus underneath the church of Saint Cassius the Martyr. He is miraculously freed. He makes his way back to his house.
Once inside his house, he searched for the title-deeds which Queen Clotild had given to him. He took them to King Chlothar and told him how he had been buried alive by his bishop. All those present were astounded: not even Nero or Herod, they declared, had committed such a crime as to bury a man alive. Bishop Cautinus appeared before King Chlothar, but when Anastasius taxed him [with his crime] he left immediately, defeated and confused. As for the presbyter, he accepted documents (praeceptionibus) from the king to defend and hold his property however he pleased, and bequeath them to his descendants.
(trans. Thorpe 1974: 205-207, altered by J. Szafranowski)


This event took place during the episcopacy of Cautinus of Clermont, that is between 551 and 571. The property in question was bequeathed by Queen Clotild before 544 in which year she died.

Place of event:

  • Gaul
  • Clermont

About the source:

Author: Gregory of Tours
Title: The History of the Franks, Gregorii episcopi Turonensis historiarum libri X, Histories
Origin: Tours (Gaul)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Gregory of Tours (Gaul) wrote his ten books of Histories (known commonly in English as the History of the Franks) during his episcopal reign in Tours between 573 and 594. The books vary in scope and length. The first book covers 5,596 years from the creation of the world to AD 397, that is the death of Saint Martin of Tours, Gregory`s predecessor in bishopric. The second book deals with the history of Gaul between 397 and 511, the latter being the year of death of King Clovis I. The third and fourth books cover the next 64 years till the death of Austrasian King Sigibert II in 575. Finally, the following six books describe exclusively the sixteen years from 575 to 591. Probably in 594, Gregory added the list of bishops of Tours in the end of the Histories, with brief accounts of their actions.
B. Krusch ed., Gregorii Episcopi Turonensis Historiarum Libri X [in:] Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingiciarum 1.1, Hannover 1884 (repr. 1951): 1­-537.
Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks, trans. L. Thorpe, London 1974.


Family life - Offspring
Food/Clothes/Housing - Type of housing
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Economic status and activity - Ownership or possession of land
Economic status and activity - Indication of wealth
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Monarch and royal/imperial family
Relation with - Woman
Social origin or status
Conflict - Violence
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1738,