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cated in the general devastations of the Goths, did not
till a later period remain long in the possession of any
barbarian people. The Burgundians, who occujned a
large district of Gaul to the south-east, had stretched
their boundaries to the neighbourhood of Auxerre, but
the city itself and its dependent territories did not then,
or indeed ever, belong to them, as some liave supposed.^
The Franks who at a subsequent period, about 482,
extended their kingdom over this part of Gaul, were,
at the time of St. German's return, shut up in a small
district to the north of Gaul.^ And the Goths had

' Vid. D'AnvIUe. Descript. France. Thierry Lettres. Bou-
quet, torn. i. 805, ad notas Tillemont, x%-. 838.
2 Gibbon, torn. iv. 277-283.


passed on to the south-west, where thej had estab-
lished a large pi'incipality, which was every day in-
creasing. But that long strip of land, which follows
the course of the Saone and then the Rhone down to
the sea, still belonged to the Romalis, who also were
masters of the whole of the northern j)rovinces.

During German's absence an unusual tribute had
been laid by these last authorities upon the inhabitants
of Auxei're, the burden of which excited the most bit-
ter complaints. This town however was but a single
example of a general system of oppression which then
prevailed, and was one of the jjrominent characteristics
of the age. Among other various reasons for it, the
Roman government had daily become more urgent in
its demands for supplies ; and the provinces of Gaul as
being in the centre of war, were the special victims of
all kinds of exaction. Up to this time Aetius, the
chief defence of the Empire since the death of Stilicho,
had been at the head of the Roman armies in Gaul.
He was opposing at once the Burgundians in one' quar-
ter, the Franks in another, the Goths in another, and
the Insurgents^ in a fourth. To enable him to maintain
sufficient troops, the Government drained the land of
men and money. In fact, as Salvian says, " the Roman
Republic was either entirely extinct in Gaul, or in those
parts where it seemed to be still breathing, the heavy fet-
ters of tribute were fast suffocating its dying energies."'^

What these impositions were, may best be conceived
from the same author's language of grief. The burden
of them fell on the poor and middle classes, while the
powerful took occasion of them to augment their own
wealth. " The Prefecture, which was the highest civil

' Bacaudse. ^ p. 75.

1 76 THE TO^\^^'S of GAUL,

office of the province, was too often, lie says, but an
excuse for plunder ; the dignity of the imperial magis-
trates^ a mere field for the pillage of towns."'^ The
methods resorted to were of the following nature. J'irst
there was a general heavy task laid upon every city,
" the effects of which however severe and cruel, would at
least have been tolerable, if all had shared them equally ;
but what made them the more invidious, the indigent
had to bear all the imposts, the rich were exempt."-''

Furthermore there were often laid on individual
cities, besides the general assessment, extraordinary
taxes.* "This was the way, he continues ; new mes-
sengers arrived, secretaries and bearers of letters sent
from the chief officers of the crown. They were intro-
duced to the nobles of the city, and with them decreed
the ruin of the people ; new taxes were forthwith re-
solved and published, and the poor had to pay."^ The
nobles, who assisted the extortions of the governors,
might pretend to submit to the public tribute, but they
always left the discharge of it to the people. And not
content with this, contrived to increase their own pri-
vate exactions under colour of public demands ; the
consequences of which seem to have been the most
grievous calamity of the time.

To all the severe and even unnecessary measures
which the administration enforced, the people might
cheerfully have acceded, and accepted the emergencies
of war as an excuse, though often unjust, if they had
met with kindness and equity among their own rich
citizens and nobles. Nothing can exceed the picture
which has been left of the barbarity of the nobles to-

' Sublimium. - p. 72. ' p. HO.

■* Adjectiones fribularias. * p. 110.


w-ards the poor. We might be at a loss among so many-
proofs to select any in preference, but the following
fact, related by the same contemporary author, will
sei've at least to indicate the spirit of the times. Sal-
vian is intending to illustrate the facility with which
men forswore themselves and took Christ's name in
vain. " A short time ago," he says, " at the earnest
request of a certain poor man, I went to intercede with
a powerful nobleman, I entreated him not to rob an
indigent and wretched person of his small substance ;
not to take away the poor pittance which supported his
need. The nobleman, who had coveted his little pro-
perty with a rabid desire, and was already devouring in
expectation his spoils, turned his fierce eyes towards
me, with frightful expression, as if he thought I wished
to take away from him that which he was only desired
not take away himself. ' He could by no means comply
with my request,' he answered, and seemed to imply
that some sacred order or deed bound him to refuse me.
I asked the cause of his denial. ' A most urgent cause,'
he replied. ' I have sworn, by the name of Christ, that
I will take away this property ; and you see, he con-
tinued, that I can not, may not, refrain from Avhat I
have thus pledged myself to.' The crime which could
claim religion for its excuse silenced me. What could
I do when such a theory of justice and religion was
propounded ? I therefore departed." ^

The consequence of these multiplied miseries was a
threefold political evil. The poor, and in general those
who happened to be infeinors to the nobles, or the pro-
vincial senatorial class of men which then occupied an
important station, were at last forced " to deliver them-

1 p. 91.


selves up to the more powerful citizens ; they became
the Dedititii of the rich, that is, neither more nor less
than their slaves : their very property and right." ^
The important class of the Ciiriales, or those Burghers
who had enjoyed many privileges and offices within
their towns, was now fast disappearing. Every where
men were selling their patrimony and themselves, for a
temporary support and defence. " These poor sufferers,
who might seem to be gaining a pi-otection, first gave
up almest their whole substance to their protectors ;
whereby the fathers were indeed protected, but the
sons lost their inheritance : the price of protection to
the one was mendicity to the others."- The immense
accession of numbers which thus accrued to the afflicted
class of the Coloni, or Tenants, and Slaves can hardly
be calculated. " When men have lost their houses and
are expelled their estates, by unjust appropriation, or
by extortion, they then betake themselves to the farms
of the powerful ; they become in short the Coloni, the
Tenants of the rich."^ Many who were thus degraded
were persons who had pi'evious wealth and respectabil-
ity to boast of " No longer able to keep the mansion
or tlie dignity of their birthright, they were obliged to
submit to the abject yoke of a Tenant."^

On the other hand many abandoned their own coun-
try, gave up the name and ties of Romans, which
formerly were deemed an htmour to Gaul, and went
over to the barbarians, the Visigoths, the Burgundians,
and the Franks. It was a sad sight to see " many who
were born of respectable families, and had received a
liberal education, flee for safety to the enemy, to escape
the death of a public persecution at home, and seek

' p. 113. "- p. 113. ^ p. 114. - p. 115,


among barbarians those humane feelings whicjji were
thought to belong only to the Romati world." ^ Here of
course they were captives ; but it is remarked that
such captivity was preferable to liberty at home ; those
titles of franchise which were so long the glory of the
municipal city, were now but empty rights. " The
Roman name was becoming vile, nay even abhorred."^

Lastly, the oppression of the inferior classes in Gaul
produced an extensive and alarming rebellion ; and a
vast confederacy of Insurgents, who went by the name
of Bacaudte, gradually was formed within the Roman
dominions. Their chief seat was in those maritime
provinces, which border the English channel, and went
by the generic name of Armorica. Here they seem to
have settled into a kind of Republic, which gave con-
stant exercise to the Roman Generals, who endea-
voured to suppress it, and bring back the seceding
counti-ies to the empire. An occasion will present
itself hereafter of considering more at length this Ar-
morican confederacy, or Bacaudte, as they furnished
the last field for St. German's untiring exertions. It
is sufficient here to mark this fact which by contempo-
rary authors was declared to be the express result of
the oppression of the poor in the Roman provinces.
" We call them rebels, says Salvian, and abandoned
men ; yet we are they who have compelled them to be
such. For what is the cause of their becoming Bacaudse,
unless it be our injustices, the iniquities of our magis-
trates, the proscription and pillage exercised upon
them . . . the tributary extortion practised with regard
to them ?"'

To relieve his people at Auxerre, who were now

■ p. 107. - p. 108. ^ p. 108.


suffering from these evilr?, was the immediate pur-
pose of German. When extraordinary taxes were
laid upon a city too poor to answer the demand,
there were such things as remedies in use at the
time. These remedies,^ as the expression was, were
simply dispensations granted by the Prefect, the first
magistrate ; and though such dispensations, in many
cases, were perverted by the nobles to the grossest ex-
cesses of private extortion, yet if German could but
provide one for his people, he might in a great measure
secure it from abuses elsewhere prevalent. Bishops
in the fifth century were the stay of the people — the
only one ; and Bishops at that time were Saints and
heroes. Careless, therefore, of fatigue, though he had
undergone so much of late, he immediately prepared
for another journey.

St. German at Aries.

The seat of government was then at Aries, as it has
been remarked, and there the Prefect of all Gaul re-
sidecV It is necessary to be precise in all these par-
ticulars, since serious chronological mistakes, for want
of distinctness, seem to have here been made by many
writers. Auxiliaris was the name of the Prefect, as
Constantius plainly says ; from which circumstance
many have thought the date of this extraordinary
taxing which German found on his return, was as late

' Bemedia.


as 444, A. D., if not later, because there is a famous
letter of Auxiliaris to St. Hilary, ^ of Aries, written in
444, wherein the former endeavours to reconcile Hilary
with Pope Leo, and which he wrote, we learn, when
he was Prefect ; and they have urged this as a reason
for postponing German's visit to Britain. But the dili-
gence of the Bollandists has shown that Auxiliaris was
no longer Prefect of Gaul when he wrote this, but
Prefect of Rome or Itah^ ; which assertion is supported
by the learned Bouquet, Pagi, Baluzius, and Quesnel ;^
and moreover, an inscription which is still to be seen
at Narbonne, seems to prove that Marcellus, not Aux-
iliaris, was Prefect of Gaul between 441 and 445. So
far, therefore, from anything in this circumstance in-
validating the date we have assigned to German's
return from Britain, (i. e. the year 430) if the fact be
true that Auxiliaris had ceased to be Prefect of Gaul
in 444, this is in itself a satisfactory reason for placing
the mission of St. German to our island in 429.

German set off then to Ai4es, with a very small
company, and with a scanty supply of provisions.
Christ, says C'onstantius, was gold and silver to him.
The great Roman road to Aries would pass through
Autun, Chalons, Tornus, Macon, Belleville, Anse,
Lyon, Vienne, St. Rambert, St. Vallier, Tliain, Val-
ence, Le Begude, Ancoune, St. Pol Tricartin, Orange,
A.vignon, and St. Gabriel,^ the whole of which was
signalized by some token of his Apostolical gifts.

The day was a rainy one when he left Auxerre ;
towai'ds the evening, as he had passed the boundaries

1 Vid. Laccary Hist. Gall. sub. Praef. 137.
2 Historiens de la Gaule, t. i. p. 643. Quesnel. Diss. t. ii. p.
784. Biogr. Univ. Art. Hilaire.

^ Itin. Anton, in Descrip. de Gaule, B. 40, Bodl. Libr.


of liis diocese, he was overtaken by a traveller who
had neither shoes nor coat. Grieved to see his naked-
ness, German suffered him to lodge under the same
roof at night. But while he and his attendants were
employed in their devotions, the stranger carried off
by stealth the horse on which the Bishop rode. The
next morning the theft was discovered. One of the
clerical attendants offered las horse to German. They
then proceeded on their way, not without the surprise
of all in witnessing the unwonted serenity which ap-
peared in his countenance. One of them asked the
reason. " Let us wait a while," he said, " for we shall
see that the action of that unfortunate man ha^^been of
little benefit to him ; he will soon be coming up out of
breath." They then halted, and shortly after beheld
the thief advancing on foot, and leading after him the
horse he had taken. When he arrived, he fell down at
German's feet and confessed his crime, adding, that
during the whole night he had found himself unable to
get away or move one step, until he had resolved to
restore the animal. German answered ; " If yesterday
I had given thee a cloak, there had been no need of
stealing. Receive, therefore, this one as a supply for
thy wants, and restore that vv^hich is my property."
The stranger then departed with the garment, in ad-
dition to the pardon of his offence.

German wished not to make his journey public, but
to reach the object of it with as little display as he
could. But his character was now too well known, and
his virtues like a city built on a hill could not escape
the view of men. While on one hand he abstained
from all the so called comforts of life, he avoided on the
other the officious attention and concourse of strangers.
There was not, however, a village or town in his Avay,


but all the inhabitants came out by multitudes to await
his passage, and follow his steps. Men with their wives
and children came flocking around him, and left him
only when a fresh escort arrived to relieve them.

The first district he travelled through was that of
Auxois, Avhere there lived a Presbyter called Senator,
conspicuous for his birth as well as his piety. German
had been long acquainted with him, as well as his wife
Nectariola, who, according to the tolerated custom of
the time, continued in the same house in the capacity
of sister.^ He accordingly accepted the hospitality they
offered him. There indeed was not much to offer ; but
one peculiar circumstance occurred. Nectariola, un-
seen, placed some straw in the bed which was prepared
for him, and German unconsciously slept upon it during
the intervals which he reserved from his nightly pray-
ers and psalmody. 2 When day returned he departed ;
Nectariola then took up the straw in which he had lain,
and concealed it. Some days after, one Agrestius, a
person of considerable birth, who was married and had
children, fell a victim to the influence of an Evil Spirit.
His relations grieved that German was no longer pre-
sent to relieve him. As it was, there appeared no
remedy, till the wife of Senator, Nectariola, having
brought forth the straw she had treasured up, enve-
loped the afilicted man with it. In tliis state he re-
mained a whole night, calling the while upon the name
of German. The next morning he was delivered of the
Evil Spirit and never after visited by it.

' Conf. L'Art de Verifier les Dates, torn. i. p. 152, ubi Ca-
nons of the Council of Tours, 567, a. d. Ibid. p. 137. Dupin
Eccl. Hist. torn. ii. 3rd Canon of the Council of Nice. Bing-
ham, B. II. Ch. xxii. p. 101 and 155.

^ Vid. Baillet Vie de Saints, xxxi. Jul.


In the meantime, German was continuing Iiis jour-
ney. Arrived at Macon, on the banks of the Saone, a
river noted for its slow course, which gave it the Celtic
name of Arar in antiquity, ^ he left the high-road and
advanced by the water towards Lyons. Lyons was
one of the ]n-iucipal towns of Gaul in the early ages
of Christianity. The church established there we are
told was of Greek institution, as its origin, rites and
bishops indicated. Nearly two centuries before this
time it had been the scene of one of the most dreadful
persecutions, and illustrious both for the glory of its
martyrs and the holiness of its bishops, among whom
was St. Irena^us.*^ It is situated at the conflux of the
Rhone and the Saone. Some have thought that St.
Eucher was at this time Bishop of Lyons ; but evidence
seems to be against the supposition. Constantius, who
was a priest in that church, would scarcely have omit-
ted this occasion of introducing him to the reader.^
Senator, his predecessor, apparently governed the
church when German arrived there. The traveller
was received by a large concourse of people of all rank
and age. Every one endeavoured to come near to him.
Some demanded his blessing ; others were content with
touching him ; and others again rejoiced if they could
but get a sight of him. Here he performed many mi-
raculous cures upon sick persons ; and preached to the
multitude who thronged to hear him. Kot being able,
however, to stay as long as they wished, he hastened
to proceed to Aides. But his sojourn at Lyons, short

' Sidon. Apoll. not. ad Lib. ii. p. 237, Recens. Edit. D'Anville
says it was called the Sacconna from the time of Ammianus
Marcellinus, yet after bim Constantius calls it Arar, and so Si-
don. Apoll.
- Vid. Euscbius. ^ See Tillcmont, torn. xv. Vie de St. Eucher.


as it was, left a deep and lasting impression upon the
minds of the inhabitants, and was the original occasion
of the biography of St. German, which Constantius the
Presbyter of Lyons wrote at the request of his Bishop,
St. Patiens. The letter in which he expressed liis com-
pliance with the desire of St, Patiens is still in existence.
" Constantius the sinner, sendeth greeting to his
blessed and Apostolical Lord and ever revered Patron
Patiens. It is with reason that among the virtues obe-
dience claims the highest rank. By it many attempt
at least Avhat they feel unequal to. And therefore they
must be considered worthy of the praise due to devo-
tedness, who, regardless of their own inability, submit
to those that order. Tliis being the case, since you de-
sire, most revered Pontiff, ^ to have the wondi'ous
gifts of a holy man set forth conspicuously, and to
propose the example of his miracles as an instructive
lesson to all ; and have frequently enjoined me to
transmit, as weU as I could, to the present and future
generations, the Life of that great Saint, German the Bi-
shop, too much obscured by silence ; I therefore accede
to the work with boldness, though, at the same time, I
feel conscious of presumption. Do you grant the par-
don ; for I might perhaps allege that some guilt at-
taches to your own judgment ; you ought to have cho-
sen a better workman for such high materials. How-
ever, we are both acting up to the principle of Love ;
you think me capable when I am not, I obey readily
your authoritative injunction. Pray, therefore, for me,
that my labour may, through your intercession, obtain
that favour which it lays no claim to on the score of
desert. Farewell ! long days in Christ to thee, blessed

' Papa venerabilis.


prelate. Ever remember me." Thus early were Saints'
Lives composed for the edification of" the Christian

There Avere two ways from Lyons to Aries, either
by water down the Rhone, as the custoni till very late
has continued, ^ or by the great Roman road which had
been constructed as far as Narbonne, and which was
one of the four Vije Agrippina3 ; and perhaps to this
two-fold way of travelling, an allusion is made by Sido-
nius Apollinaris in tlie following verses.

" Hinc agger sonat, hinc Arar resultat,
Hinc sese pedes atque eques reflpctit
Stridentum et moderator essedortim,
Curvorum hinc chorus helciarioriim
Responsantibus alleluia ripis
Ad Christum levat amnicum celeusma.
Sic, sic psallite, nauta vel viator ;
Namque iste est locus omnibus petendus,
Omnes quo via ducit ad sajutem."^

It is conjectured by those that live on the spot, that
the former way would most naturally be taken by the
traveller. German, however, soon reached the term of
his journey. As in other places, he was received at
Aries amid tlie congratulations of the whole city. St.
Hilary had lately succeeded to St. Honoratus in the Bi-
shopric, or rather Archbishopric, of Aries. This town
was then the first in Gaul. "It is an acknowledged
fact, said the Bishops of the province in a letter to St.
Leo, among all the people of Gaul and also in the holy
church of Rome, that the city of Aries was the first
which received St. Trophimus, sent by tlie blessed

' Lcttres de Madame de S^vign^.
2 Vid. Epis. X. Lib. ii. et Notes. Ed. 1836.


Apostle Peter (that is apparently one of his successors)
and that the gift of the Faith was conveyed to tlie rest
of Gaul through this channel... therefore it is by right
and justice that Aries has always had the chief rank in
this church."^ It was not till some time after the pe-
riod under consideration, that the church of Vienne
claimed the precedency, owing to the dispute of St.
Leo and St. Hilary. ^ At Aries, moreover, was fixed
the residence of the Prefect of Gaul ; it had succeeded
to Treves in political importance, and had been parti-
cularly favoured by Constantine the Great, who had
given it the name of Constantia, Here also tyrants
had fixed their abode and dealt out the honours of the
Empire. The advantages of its situation are thus de-
scribed in an imperial rescript :'

" The city of Aries is so conveniently situated,
strangers resort to it in such great numbers, its com-
merce is so extensive, that whatever is of foreign
growth or manufacture, is to be found there. The
wealth of the opulent East, of perfumed Arabia, luxu-
rious Syria, fertile Africa, beautiful Spain and hardy
Gaul, abounds in this place to such a degree, that every
thing magnificent to be seen in other parts of the
world, seems here to be the very produce of the soil.
The union of the Rhine and the Mediterranean brings
together the territories which they respectively water ;
and the whole earth seems to contribute its stores to
the advantage of the town : by land and by sea and by
river, carts, ships, barges, are continually carrying into
its bosom the riches they have amassed."

' Epist. Leon. Ed. Quesnel, p. 539, Vol. I.

- Alford ad an. 440.

= See Bouquet, torn. i. 766. and notes. Guizot, Europe.



But the cliicf pride of this second Tyx'e was its great
Bishops. Holiness seemed to be the lieritage of that
church. St. Hilary who was then presiding over it,
was, says Constantius, a man endowed with every vir-
tue, a burning torrent of divine eloquence, an indefati-
gable labourer in the duties of his office, who alone
spread a lustre over the diocese he governed. The re-
ception he gave to German corresponded with the cha-
racter he held. Though a metropolitan Bishop, he
was much the younger of the two, having lately left
the monastery of Lerins at the age of twenty-nine.^
On the present occasion, we are told, his demeanour
towards the more aged Prelate who came to visit him
was that of a son to his father, and his respect like that
due to an Apostle. From this tune perhaps may be
dated the intimacy which arose between these two emi-
nent Saints, although there is nothing to prevent it
having had an earlier origin. ^

However, Auxiliaris the Prefect did not allow his
friend Hilary to outstrip hiiu in attentions to their dis-
tinguished guest. Unlike many who had filled the
same high office, Auxiliaris was a faithful servant of the
Church and its ministers, as he well proved afterwards

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