Royal Funerals and Saints’ Topography in Merovingian Paris

— Jörg Oberste (Regensburg)

This case study focuses on the question of how Paris acquired metropolitan significance as early as the 6th and 7th centuries through the presence of rulers and important saints, although the city did not historically occupy a prominent position among the cities of Gaul and was hardly larger than an unfortified suburb of Rome or Constantinople in the Merovingian period. In these two centuries, a close topographical and symbolic connection of residence, royal burial and veneration of saints emerged, which is constitutive for the dynamic development of Paris throughout the Middle Ages. The first all Frankish King Clovis (486-511), his wife Chrodechilde (d. 544) and their eldest son Childebert I (511-538) settled the royal memoria permanently in Paris; this was not changed by the fact that King Dagobert I (629-639) and his successors moved the royal burial place only a few kilometres outside the city to Saint-Denis. One must be clear about this: Even though Saint-Denis was a city in its own right in the Middle Ages and the royal abbey, with its privileges, always insisted strongly on its independence, Saint-Denis was always closely linked to Paris through its founding saint, the first Parisian bishop Dionysius, saint Denis. For Dagobert and his successors, Paris remained the focal point of their rule. With the tomb of saint Denis, increasingly popular in the Frankish Empire, they only added another ideological and topographical support to this symbolic capital.

Figure 1: La basilique Saint-Denis en 1844-1845. La basilique Saint-Denis en 1844-1845. La basilique Saint-Denis en 1844-1845.La basilique Saint-Denis en 1844-1845. Félix Benoist

Research has so far paid less attention to the early Merovingian period than to the later periods of Parisian history. Nevertheless, there are important findings from historiography and archaeology, the state of which was summarised by the end of the 20th century in the “Nouvelle histoire de Paris”[1] . The origin of the Parisian sacred topography is the subject of the contribution by Duval, Périn and Picard in the “Topographie chrétienne des Cités de la Gaule”[2] . Both handbook contributions include the significant archaeological finds of the 1960s: Excavations under the forecourt of Notre-Dame uncovered the remains of the largest episcopal church in Merovingian Gaul[3] . The exceptional character of the Seine city is also accentuated more clearly by a recent comparative study: In the Gallic episcopal cities, the Merovingian kings as church benefactors usually took a clear back seat to the local bishops and nobles; if a member of the ruling dynasty can be grasped in the context of a new foundation, in many cases this tends to be the queens[4] . In Paris, although bishops and queens also played an important role, there is also an unusually large amount of evidence of direct involvement by the ruler. The philological basis has become broader in recent decades through efforts to edit and interpret Merovingian saints’ lifes. Decisive here are the Vitae of Saints Genovefa, Germanus and Dionysius as well as the Carolingian Gesta Dagoberti[5] . The early building history of the three churches in question, Sainte-Geneviève, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Saint-Denis, is also of interest here, even if it is often only briefly dealt with in the relevant research[6] . The early necrological sources have been analysed by Heuer-Decker[7] . In the light of this research, the close symbolic and topographical connection between royal burial and the veneration of saints is to be analysed in more detail below.

Figure 2: Portret van koning Clovis I, anonymous, veuve Delpech (Naudet), in or after 1818 – in or before 1842, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam,

Before the abbey of Saint-Denis virtually monopolised the funerals of rulers in the 7th century, Clovis I and his sun Childebert had founded their own funeral churches on the southern bank of the Seine with the church of Saints-Apôtres/Saint-Pierre (later Sainte-Geneviève) and with the basilica of Saint-Vincent/Sainte-Croix (later Saint-Germain-des-Prés)[8] . Clovis and Chrodechildes’ decision to be buried in a new building on the cemetery site of the later Mont-Sainte-Geneviève probably perpetuated the family devotion to Genovefa[9] . This saint was already considered the patron saint of Paris around 500, who is said to have kept both Attila’s Huns and the Frankish troops under Clovis’s father Childerich from plundering the city on the Seine. The new basilica served as the burial place of Genoveva, the Frankish royal couple, his daughter Chlothilde and two granddaughters[10] . Clovis received the honorary titles of consul and Augustus from the Eastern Roman Emperor Anastasius after his victory against the Arian Visigoths at Poitiers in 508. He made Paris his consular seat[11] . The choice of his burial place and not least the two patron saints of the new basilica, Peter and the Apostles, indicate that the king had no less comparative examples in mind for his new main residence than Rome and Constantinople: the Roman Basilica of St Peter and the Basilica of the Apostles in Constantinople, burial place of Constantine the Great. Gregory of Tours consequently refers to Paris several times as the “seat of the kingdom” (e.g. cathedra regni, Hist. II, 38; sedes regni, Hist. VII, 27) and Clovis as the “new Constantine”[12] .

The reasons for Clovis’ decision in favour of Paris are disputed in research. While older research mainly referred to the central geographical location and military strategic aspects, in recent decades the religious significance of the city with its famous saints has come to the fore[13] . Even though Merovingian Paris hardly extended beyond the borders of the Île-de-la-Cité and nothing of the Roman infrastructure on the left bank of the Seine was still in function apart from cemeteries, the city acquired a symbolic capital and a topographical orientation in the 6th and 7th centuries that had their full effect in the rise of Paris as the French capital and metropolis in the 13th and 14th centuries. The new burial place of Clovis on the left bank of the Seine was located at an ancient necropolis, continuity with a late antique cemetery church can be assumed here. This situation can be generalised in late antique Gaul: a characteristic belt of necropolises developed around the Roman fortified civitates due to the prohibition of burial intra muros. Those cemeteries outside the walls were supplemented in late antique Christianity by sacred buildings in which the incipient veneration of martyrs and saints took place. Prominent tombs such as those of Genovefa or Clovis were placed in the care of monastic communities, which were endowed with landed property and legal titles by the Frankish high nobility. Through their saints, these early monasteries were not only cultic centres, but through the royal and noble endowments, large landowners with all feudal rights and duties. The formation of metropolises in late medieval Paris took place through the merging of monastic and ecclesiastical landed estates, which in many cases had emerged from the late antique Merovingian funeral churches.

The ideological value that the Merovingian royal tombs had for the French capital of the later Middle Ages is illustrated by a look at historiography: When a monk of Saint-Denis wrote a chronicle of the French kings in the vernacular around 1275, which he called the “Roman des roys” and opened the well-known series of the “Grandes Chroniques de France”, he commented on the divisions of empire among the Merovingians who succeeded Clovis: “Whoever reads this chronicle must know that we call only those kings of France who held the throne in the city of Paris”[14] .  Only those who ruled in Paris were allowed to claim the title “roi de France” in the succession of Clovis[15] ; Paris and kingship in France were, in the interpretation of the 13th century – when Paris was on its way to becoming the largest European metropolis – inseparably linked from the earliest times. (The 15th-century illumination from the royal “Grandes Chroniques” shown here depicts the founding of Saint-Denis Abbey by King Dagobert against the unmistakable latemedieval skyline of the City of Paris).

Figure 3: Dagobert I réfugié à Saint-Denis. Grandes Chroniques de France, enluminées par Jean Fouquet, Tours, vers 1455-1460 Paris, BnF, département des Manuscrits, Français 6465, fol. 57 (Cinquième Livre)

During the long reign of Childebert I (511-558), the expansion of the sacral topography was pursued, especially under the direction of the energetic Bishop of Paris, Germanus (550-576). Most important was Childebert’s new burial church with the patronages of Saint-Vincent/Sainte-Croix on the south bank of the Seine. For this foundation, which again was situated on an ancient burial ground on the left bank of the Seine, the king brought back from his Iberian campaign important relics of the martyr Vincent from Saragossa and a golden cross reliquary from Toledo[16] . The cross established a symbolic link to the Christian salvation event and, with Jerusalem, to another ancient metropolis. The new basilica not only served as the final resting place of Childebert, his wife Ultrogotho (d. around 567) and their common daughters, but after them also of the kings Chilperich (561-584), Chlothar II (613-629) and Childerich II (662-675) with their wives and other family members; it was thus – according to a formulation by Patrick Périn – “la première nécropole des rois de France”[17] . Bishop Germanus, who was already venerated during his lifetime, was also buried in the basilica of Saint Vincent/Sainte Croix in 576. A local cult quickly established itself around the bishop’s tomb, whose name was finally transferred to the church: Saint-Germain-des-Prés (the name “Saint Germanus in the meadows” incidentally illustrates the low level of urbanisation on the left bank of the Seine around 700)[18] . As in the case of Sainte-Geneviève, the cult of an important local saint established itself better and faster in the popular veneration of saints than the patron saints and relics of ancient metropolises or distant episcopal cities.

The long-term value of the symbolic capital that early rulers and saints held for Paris can be seen, among other things, in the early Gothic rebuilding of the choir of Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey from the middle of the 12th century: At this time, relations between the abbey and the local bishop had reached a low point. Increasing conflicts over municipal land ownership and the exemption privilege encouraged Abbot Hugues (1116-1146) to rebuild the choir, which on the one hand preserved architectural continuities with the Merovingian basilica and on the other created new, sculpted funerary monuments to the founders Germanus and the Merovingian ruling family around Childebert in the immediate vicinity of the main altar[19] . The tradition of famous saints and rulers was used by the community not least for the constant expansion of its privileges, at the top of which stood the forged, but repeatedly referred to exemption privilege of Bishop Germanus for Saint-Vincent / Sainte Croix[20] and which was successfully expanded in the Middle Ages by documents of the current rulers and popes.

The poem by Venantius Fortunatus “De ecclesia Parisiaca”, written around 567, suggests that the cathedral in Merovingian Paris was also rebuilt in the time of King Childebert I; excavations under the forecourt of Notre-Dame in the 19th and 20th centuries uncover the remains of the largest episcopal church in Merovingian Gaul[21] . This impressive building symbolised the central claim of the Merovingian kings to rule over the united Frankish kingdom, which had become Christian since Chlowig’s baptism around 500, just as the monumental early Gothic new building of Notre-Dame 700 years later symbolised the rising power of the Capetian kinship over France under king Philippe Auguste (1180-1223). In both cases, the royal claim to rule over the kingdom was closely linked to the city and church of Paris. In the dynastic disputes that followed Childebert’s death, the rule over Paris repeatedly played a central role. Thus King Guntram I (561-592), according to Gregory of Tours, had a baptistery built for his godson Chlothar II in Nanterre near Paris, apparently to protect him from the grasp of Childebert II (575-596), who ruled in Paris, without giving up his claim to the capital[22] . In 613, Chlothar II (584-629), with the support of nobles from various parts of the kingdom, succeeded in eliminating his rivals and restoring Frankish unity for a short time. Demonstratively, the king, celebrated in the text as the “new David”, summoned the imperial elites to a council in Paris in 614, at which he had to make far-reaching concessions to the regional nobility in their co-rule of the Frankish Empire[23] .

The consolidation of the sacral topography in and near Paris is not only the most obvious indication of the central role of Paris for the Merovingian dynasty, but at the same time an essential prerequisite for the course of the later process of dynamic urbanisation of the Paris area. With the help of the written sources and the – albeit only sporadically conducted – archaeological soundings, a dense network of Merovingian churches, oratories and cemeteries in and around Paris can be reconstructed. The compilation of finds draws attention, on the one hand, to the impressive building activity on the area of the necropolises located on the arterial roads extra muros and, on the other hand, to the simultaneous densification of the inner-city sacral topography[24] . Considering that between the 4th and 6th centuries the population had declined as elsewhere in Gaul and at least part of the Roman infrastructure had been destroyed, the new ecclesiastical foundations probably go far beyond the actual need for parishes or cemetery churches.

Figure 4: Maquette représentant l’île de la Cité et ses alentours à Paris en France vers la fin du XVIe siècle date de la maquette : fin du XIXe siècle la photo se focalise sur le palais de la Cité Photo : 5 mars 2011 au musée Carnavalet par Adrian Scottow

As new ecclesiastical buildings of the Merovingian period, after the royal burial churches mentioned above, the first to be mentioned is the cathedral group in the east of the Île-de-la-Cité, which consisted of the new episcopal church of Saint-Étienne, the baptistery of Saint-Jean-le-Rond, a women’s monastery of Saint-Christophe, a chapel or church of Dionysius (Saint-Denis-du-Pas) and a bishop’s court[25] . The main island also contained, in Merovingian times, a church of Germanus (Saint-Germain-le-Vieux), which later served as a possession and protected retreat for the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, another oratory dedicated to saint Denis (Saint-Denis-du-Pas), a chapel of Saint Martin and another female monastery, dedicated to saint Martial of Limoges[26] .  With Martin, Dionysius, Martial and Germanus, leading Gallic and Parisian saints were already gathered on the central Île-de-la-Cité and thus in the direct vicinity of the ruler’s residence in the 7th century, underlining the claim of the Seine city as the outstanding royal residence of the Franks. In the approximately 250 years of Merovingian rule, moreover, a belt of more than 20 churches and oratories was built on the southern and northern banks. On the northern bank, the cemetery church of Saint-Germain-le-Rond (later Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois) and the churches and chapels of Notre-Dame-des-Bois, Sainte-Colombe, Saint-Gervais, Saint-Paul-des-Champs and, in the 8th century, Saint-Jacques (later: de-la-Boucherie) and Saint-Merri were located near the riverbank[27] . Gregory of Tours also mentions a church of Saint Martin on the northern bank (Hist. VIII, 33). After its destruction by the Normans in the late 9th century, King Henry I, in the last year of his life, promoted the re-establishment of a canonry (Saint-Martin-des-Champs) on this site in 1060, the first intervention of a Capetian in the sacred topography of Paris[28] . About 500 metres further north, the same road crossed the old arm of the Seine and passed an old church with the patrocinium of Saint-Laurent. 

On the northern bank, there were also three Merovingian foundations which, due to their distant location from the city centre, were not part of the extended Parisian urban area until modern times, but which, due to their prominent founders and their cultic significance, attracted foundations from Paris and privileges from kings and Parisian bishops at an early stage: The most important of these was the Abbey of Saint-Denis, burial place of the first Parisian bishop Dionysius and, from the early 7th century, leading burial place of the Merovingian dynasty. The abbots and monks systematically developed their proximity to the kings of France, for example, King Louis VI decreed in 1113 that Saint-Denis was “placed before all other churches of the kingdom” and must be “especially promoted by the Frankish kings”[29] . On a ridge in the northwest of the city, today’s Montmartre, there is evidence of another Merovingian church building near an older burial ground, which also played an important cultic role as a memorial site for the martyrdom of the first bishop of Paris. King Louis VI and his wife Adelheid took this church in possession in an exchange of property in 1133[30] . Adelheid founded a women’s monastery and designated it as her burial place, which ensured extensive endowment activity. A Merovingian ruler, Queen Nanthilde, who as mother exercised the regency for the young Clovis II (639-640), finally founded another monastery (de Fossatis, later Saint-Maur-des-Fossés) in the great loop of the Marne to the east of the city, which enjoyed the patronage of Merovingians, Carolingians and Capetians[31] . These few examples emphatically underline that the sacred landscape of Paris was the focus of rulers and their families even after Clovis and Childebert. Regardless of the size or economic importance of the city, the symbolic capital created by the Merovingians, anchored in royal burial sites, important saintly relics and the associated sacral buildings, continued to have an enormous effect.

The fact that the prominent foundations of the Merovingian era generally triggered further donations and thus also had a lasting influence on the socio-economic life of Paris is demonstrated by the original diploma of King Childebert III for Saint-Denis from the year 709[32]: The concrete cause was a dispute between the royal abbey and the head of the household Grimoald and Count Gairinus of Paris, leading representatives of the Merovingians in Paris. The conflict delt with customs claims against the long-distance merchants who travelled to Saint-Denis on the feast of the saint bishop on 3 October and crossed Parisian territory on the way. According to the document’s narratio, Grimoald had claimed that since time immemorial the revenues from this market had been shared between the monastery and the treasury, levied by the Count of Paris, because the fair was not held at the monastery, but in Paris, “in the city of Paris, between the basilicas of Saint-Martin and Saint-Laurent”[33] . This makes very clear that even at this early date a quite dense sacral topography was emerging on the northern edge of Paris and that the monasteries and churches were competing for economic and topographical shares in the Parisian area. The Merovingian sacral topography was even denser on the southern bank of the Seine, which can be explained by the large Roman settlement and the necropolises and cemeteries built in its vicinity[34] . Many of these suburban churches or cemetery chapels refer with their names to the deurbanisation of the rive gauche that has taken place in the meantime: Saint-Étienne-des-Grès (sandstone) on the eastern edge of the Roman civitas, Saint-Symphorien-des-Vignes (vineyards) in the immediate vicinity of the former, or Notre-Dame-des-Champs (fields) on the southern arterial road towards Orléans. The burial places of Clovis and Childebert discussed above were also located at old cemeteries on the left bank. On the little river of the Bièvre was another large burial ground with a group of three churches, including another church of St. Martin and the episcopal burial church of Saint-Marcel. This was possibly the “senior ecclesia” mentioned by Gregory of Tours on the left bank[35] ; in any case, the burial place of Bishop Marcellus of Paris (d. around 436), who was venerated as a saint early on, was one of the most important places of worship in early medieval Paris. The oldest documented monastic settlement in the Paris region was founded around Saint-Marcel in the Merovingian period, which had numerous noble patrons[36].

Figure 5 Gisants de Clovis Ier, au second plan, et de son fils Childebert, by Yair Haklai,  9 April 2017,

How highly the Merovingians themselves valued the importance of the sacred landscape of Paris for their royal house becomes clear from a decree of the Neustrian Queen Balthilde (649-680), widow of Clovis II. She listed the churches of Saints-Apôtres/Saint-Pierre (Sainte-Geneviève), Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Saint-Denis in Paris, as well as Saint-Médard in Soissons, Saint-Aignan in Orléans and Saint-Martin in Tours[37] as the most important churches (seniores basilicae) in the Frankish kingdom. Similarly, the so-called Fredegar Chronicle from the second half of the 7th century speaks of “outstanding places of the saints” (precipua loca sanctorum) in France on the occasion of the penitential pilgrimage of a high nobleman, among which the Parisian Church can be counted[38] .

[1] Paul-Marie Duval, De Lutèce oppidum à Paris capitale de la France (vers 225?/500) (Nouvelle Histoire de Paris), Paris 1993.

[2] Noël Duval, Patrick Périn, and Jean-Charles Picard, Paris, in: Topographie chrétienne des Cités de la Gaule des origines au milieu du VIIIe siècle, vol. 8: Province ecclésiastique de Sens (Lugdunensis Senonia), ed. by Jean-Charles Picard et al, Paris 1992, pp. 97-129.

[3] Cf. the excavation report by Michel Fleury, Les fouilles faites square de l’Archevêché et au parvis Notre-Dame (4e), in: Commission du Vieux Paris, Procès-verbal, 25 oct. 1965, pp. 4-9; cf. id., Origine et date de construction de la cathédrale mérovingienne Saint-Étienne de Paris, in: Paris de Clovis à Dagobert, Dossier d’archéologie 218 (1996), pp. 40-45.

[4] Brigitte Boissavit-Camus, Des rois bâtisseurs d’église: l’investissement royal en Gaule du Ve au VIIe siècle, in: Le prince chrétien: de Constantin aux royautés barbares (IVe-VIIIe siècle), ed. by Sylvain Destephen, Bruno Dumézil, and Hervé Inglebert, Paris 2018, p. 517-544, here 523. On the important role of the Merovingian bishops in the development and expansion of urban structures in Paris, see Robert Barroux, L’évêque de Paris et l’administration municipale jusqu’au XIIe siècle, in: Revue d’histoire de l’Église de France 46 (1960), pp. 5-17, esp. 5-8.

[5] For Sainte-Geneviève: Gönna Hartmann-Petersen, Genovefa von Paris: Person, Verehrung und Rezeption einer Heiligen des Frankenreiches. Eine paradigmatische Studie zur Heiligenverehrung im Frühmittelalter, Münster 2007; for Saint-Germain-des-Prés: Gaston Duchet-Suchaux, Saint Vincent et l’abbaye de Saint-Germain des Prés, in: Paris et Île-de-France 48 (1997), pp. 127-131 ; for Saint-Denis, the dissertation on the Merovingian tradition in historiography has been available since 2022 : Sarah Olivier, La mémoire mérovingienne à travers ses réécritures. Dagobert et Saint-Denis : élaboration, circulation et instrumentalisation d’une association (Ixe-XVIe siècles), Université de Genève 2022.

[6] Cf. already with aspects of building history and diplomacy Karl Heinrich Krüger, Königsgrabkirchen der Franken, Angelsachsen und Langobarden bis zur Mitte des 8. Jahrhunderts. A historical catalogue, Munich 1971. The fundamental study of the ancient churches outside the Parisian Île-de-la-Cité is by May Vieillard-Troïekouroff, Denise Fossard, Élisabeth Chatel, and Colette Lamy-Lassalle, Les anciennes églises suburbaines de Paris (IVe – Xe siècle), in: Paris et Île-de-France 11 (1960), pp. 17-229.

[7] Andrea Heuer-Decker, Studien zur Memorialüberlieferung im frühmittelalterlichen Paris, Sigmaringen 1998.

[8] Krüger, Königsgrabkirchen, pp. 40-54 and 103ff.

[9] Cf. Patrick Périn, Paris, Merovingian Metropolis, in: Die Franken – Wegbereiter Europas vor 1500 Jahren. König Chlodwig und seine Erben, vol. 1, ed. Alfred Wieczorek, Mainz 1996, p. 121-128, Hartmann-Petersen, Genovefa von Paris, p. 64-68, and Brigitte Boissavit-Camus, Des rois bâtisseurs d’église, p. 528f.

[10] Vita Genovefae 56, ed. B. Krusch, Hannover 1896, p. 237f. and Gregory of Tours, Hist. II, 43, ed. B. Krusch, Berlin 1937, p. 93; III, 10, p. 107; III, 18, p. 119; IV, 1, p. 135.

[11] See Ralph Whitney Mathisen, Clovis, Anastasius, and Political Status in 508 C.E. The Frankish Aftermath of the Battle of Vouillé, in: The Battle of Vouille, 507 CE. Where France began, Boston/Berlin 2012, pp. 79-110.

[12] Gregory of Tours, Hist. II, 38, ed. Krusch 1937; VII, 27; II, 21 (novus Constantinus).

[13] The discussion is summarised by Périn, Paris, pp. 121-123.

[14] Les Grandes Chroniques de France, Paris, ed. by Jules Viard (Publications de la Société de l’histoire de France, 395, 401, 404, 415, 417, 423, 429, 435, 438 et 457), vol. 1-10, Paris 1920-1953, here vol. I, pp. 166-167: Cil qui ceste estoire lisent ne doivent pas entendre que tuit li roi que nous nomons ci fussent roi de France, fors cil seulement qui tenoient le siege de leur roiaume en la cité de Paris, car tout fussent il frere et neveu et tuit d’un lignage descendu, totevoies avoient il leur roiaumes asenez et autres parties de France. The context is explained by Bernard Guenée, Comment on écrit l’histoire au xiiie siècle. Primat et le ” Roman des roys “, ed. by  Jean-Marie Moeglin, Paris, 2016, p. 144f.

[15] Primat formulates this thought once again with reference to King Dagobert (629-639): … la cité de Paris qui lonc tens devant estoit chief et sieges dou roiaume, et en laquele li roi de France avoient toz jors acostumés à demorer et à porter corone (Grandes Chroniques de France I, p. 96).

[16] Duval/Périn/Picard, Paris, pp. 119-122. Cf. the survey by Patrick Périn, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, première nécropole des rois de France, in: Médiévales 31 (1996), pp. 29-36.

[17] Périn, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 1996.

[18] Gaston Duchet-Suchaux, Saint Vincent et l’abbaye de Saint-Germain des Prés, in: Paris et Ile-de-France 48 (1997), pp. 127-131.

[19] For more in-depth information: Mario Kramp, Kirche, Kunst und Königsbild. Zur Zusammenhang von Politik und Kirchenbau im capetingischen Frankreich des 12. Jahrhunderts am Beispiel der drei Abteien Saint-Denis, Saint-Germain-des-Prés und Saint-Remi/Reims, Weimar 1995, esp. pp. 172-208; Philippe Plagnieux, L’abbatiale de Saint-Germain-des-Prés et les débuts de l’architecture gothique, in: Bulletin monumental 158 (2000), pp. 7-86; Till Schoofs, Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Zur Bedeutung frühgotischer Bauformen im Machtgefüge der Île-de-France, Berlin 2013.

[20] Privilegium sancti Germani episcopi, in: Cartulaire général de Paris. Recueil de documents relatifs à l’histoire et à la topographie de Paris (528 -1180), ed. by Robert de Lasteyrie, Paris 1887 (CGP), no. 3, pp. 5-7, 21 August 566. For diplomatic criticism cf. the latest edition in MGH. DMerov. 13, ed. Theo Kölzer, Die Urkunden der Merowinger, vol. 1, Hannover 2001, p. 44.

[21] Jean Dérens, and Michel Fleury, La construction de la cathédrale de Paris par Childebert Ier, d’après le “De ecclesia Parisiaca” de Fortunat, in: Journal des Savants 1977, pp. 247-256. On this research discussion and the question marks behind the dating to the 6th century Boissavit-Camus, Des rois bâtisseurs d’église, pp. 519-521.

[22] Gregory of Tours, Hist. X, 28, ed. Krusch, p. 520f.

[23] Mansi X, col. 546. Cf. Aryeh Graboïs, Un mythe fondamental de l’histoire de France au Moyen Age : le “roi David” précurseur du “roi très chrétien”, in : Revue historique 581 (1992), pp. 11-32.

[24] Basically Duval/Périn/Picard, Paris, pp. 97-122, the map reprinted in Périn, Paris, 1996, p. 125. Cf. for the following list Philippe Lorentz / Dany Sandron, Atlas de Paris au Moyen Âge, Paris 2006, p. 19.

[25] Duval/Périn/Picard, Paris, pp. 109-112.

[26] In overview Duval/Périn/Picard, Paris, pp. 109-114.

[27] Périn, Paris, p. 124f.

[28] For detailed background information, see Alain Mercier, La deuxième fille de Cluny. Grandeurs et misères de Saint-Martin-des-Champs, Grenoble 2012, pp. 18-20 and Jörg Oberste, The Birth of the Metropolis. Urban Space and Social Life in Medieval Paris, Leiden 2021, pp. 105-114.

[29]ecclesia Beati Dyonisii que aliis ecclesiis de regno nostro preeminet et precipue debet a regibus Francorum honorari (Recueil des actes de Louis VI, roi de France [1108-1137], ed. by Robert-Henri Bautier / Jean Dufour, vol. 1, Paris 1992, no. 89). Cf. Julian Führer, König Ludwig VI. und die Kanonikerreform, Frankfurt/M. u.a. 2008 , p. 218.

[30] Cf. Führer, König Ludwig VI., p. 54.

[31] First referred to o+nly as monasterium Fossatense, the abbey took on the patrocinium Saint-Pierre-des-Fossés in the Carolingian period, before the familiar name Saint-Maur-des-Fossés came into use in the 13th century through the veneration of St. Maurus, whose bones had been in the monastery since 868. The best research overview is given in the introduction in: Das Polyptychon und die Notitia de areis von Saint-Maur-des-Fossés. Analyse und Edition, ed. by Dieter Hägermann, and Andreas Hedwig, Sigmaringen 1990, pp. 2ff.

[32] Critically edited and commented in MGH. DMerov. 1, ed. Kölzer, no. 156, pp. 388-391, original, dating: 13 December 709. Uncritically printed and dated to 710 in CGP 16.

[33] Ibid. p. 389: (…) ad Parisius civetate, inter Sancti Martini et Sancti Laurente baselicis, ipse marcadus fuit factus.

[34] Cf. on the layout of the imperial city of Lutetia on the left bank of the Seine, most recently Didier Busson, Atlas du Paris antique. Lutèce, naissance d’une ville, Paris 2019 (with extensive bibliography).

[35] On this discussion Duval/Périn/Picard, Paris, p. 115f.

[36] Cf. on Saint-Marcel Adrien Friedmann, Paris, ses rues, ses paroisses du moyen âge à la Révolution. Origine et évolution des circonscriptions paroissiales, Paris 1959, pp. 27-29 and Jacques Boussard, Paris de la fin du siège de 885/886 à la mort de Philippe Auguste, Paris2 1997, pp. 192-195.

[37] This decree is quoted in the Vita Balthildis (c. 682): Robert Folz, Tradition hagiographique et culte de sainte Bathilde, reine des Francs, in: Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 119ᵉ année, no. 3 (1975), pp. 369-384, quotation p. 372. Cf. Krüger, Königsgrabkirchen, p. 478.

[38] Godinus iusso Chlothariae per precipua loca sanctorum, domni Medardi Soissionas et domni Dionisis Parisius, ea preuentione sacramenta daturus adducitur ut semper Chlothariae deberit esse fidelis, ut congruae locus esset repertus, quo pacto separatus a suis interficeretur. Chramnulfus unus ex procerebus et Valdebertus domesticus dicentes ad Godino ut Aurilianis in ecclesia sancti Aniani et Thoronos ad limina sancti Martini ipsoque sacramento adhuc impleturus adiret (Chronicarum quae dicuntur Fredegarii Scholastici libri IV cum Continuationibus, ed. by Bruno Krusch [MGH. Script. rer. Merov., vol. 2], Hannover 1888, pp. 1-193, here chapter IV, 54, p. 147).

We thank Mika Hagedorn for his support in preparing this post for publication.

Cite this blog post
urbrel (2023, November 6). Royal Funerals and Saints’ Topography in Merovingian Paris. Religion and Urbanity: Reciprocal Formations. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from

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