November 17th 594: Gregory of Tours died
On this day in 594, French bishop and writer Gregory of Tours died. Born into a prominent family which boasted many bishops, Gregory soon also joined the clergy. He was appointed bishop of Tours by King Sigebert and Queen Brunhild in 573. Gregory lived during an unstable time in the Merovingian realm, with the murder of Sigebert leading to Tours coming under the rule of his brother Chilperic who ruled the western Frankish kingdom. After Chilperic’s own murder, control of Tours shifted several more times. Gregory was forced to adapt and mute his criticism as leaders came and went while still protecting his people from the wars that ravaged their land. As part of his role as bishop, Gregory undertook tasks such as restoration of churches, promotion of cults, and working with church legislation. Gregory’s greatest legacy, however, is his ten volume Historia Francorum, which tells the history of the Frankish people, and provides modern historians with invaluable insights into his era. After his death in 594, the popular Gregory was readily embraced as a saint by the people of Tours, with November 17th as his feast day.