Historia vel gesta Francorum

The Historia vel gesta Francorum (‘History of Deeds of the Franks’) is a reworking of the chronicle of Fredegar which extended history first up to 750 and then up to 768. It is often known as the ‘Continuation of Fredegar’ because Krusch and Wallace-Hadrill each edited the additional material as a continuation yet, as Collins has pointed out, the content of the chronicle up to the beginning of the additional material is sufficiently different that the whole compilation should be recognised as a work distinct from Fredegar’s. It was probably compiled around 787 before the deposition of Tassilo III in Bavaria (see Collins, Die Fredegar-Chroniken, p.92).

Even then, the work had a number of separate ‘afterlives’. One version jettisoned the Liber generationis in favour of Hilarianus’s De cursu temporum, with an additional insertion from Dares Phyrgius’s De excidio Troiae. The second version used the extended ‘Fredegar Chronicle’ as a continuation of Gregory of Tours’ Historiae. Helmut Reimitz has also studied a third version which forms part of an extended Carolingian history of the Franks.

Latin Edition:

The best version remains that by Krusch in MGH SRM, 2 (Hanover, 1888), from p. 168 [link]. Caution is advised because it treats the text as a simple continuation of Fredegar. Wallace-Hadrill’s 1960 edition and translation also remains useful.

English Translations:

Wallace-Hadrill’s translation can be a little over-excitable in places. Sections are also available in Alexander Callander Murray’s From Roman to Merovingian Gaul (Peterborough, Ont., 2000).

Select Manuscripts Online:

M5 Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, clm 29445/1 – a fragment from Regensberg early in the ninth century [link].

L2 Leiden, Rijksuniversiteit, Voss. Q. 20 – a partial copy from tenth-century Tours [link].

H2 Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, Pal. lat. 864 – a copy of the mixed Gregory/Fredegar version, from Lorsch c. 800 [link].

P5 Paris, Bibliotheque nationale, lat. 10911 – a useful witness to Reimitz’s version, from ninth-century Fleury [link].

Select Bibliography:

Roger Collins, Die Fredegar-Chroniken (Hanover, 2007).

Helmut Reimitz, ‘Ein karolingisches Geschichtsbuch aus Saint-Amand’, in C. Egger & H. Weigl (eds.), Text – Schrift – Codex (Vienna, 2000), pp. 34-90.