Tonantius Ferreolus, I

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Tonantius Ferreolus

Also Known As: "Tonance Ferréol"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: France
Death: Died in Cévennes (present Florac), Languedoc, France
Immediate Family:

Son of [Ferreolus] and NN NN
Husband of [Syagria]
Father of Tonantius Ferreolus, II

Occupation: Prefect of the Praetorian Guard of Gaul, (450-453), friend and relative of Sidonius Apollinaris, Préfet de la garde prétorienne des Gaules
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Tonantius Ferreolus, I

Tonantius Ferreolus (c390-after 453). Praeorian Perfect of Gaul, 451, at Rome 469, 475; friend and relative of Sidonius Apollinaris.

His ancestry is unknown. David Hughes (British Chronicles) calls him a son of "Theodosiolus, a very brave man, descended from a noble family in Spain."

The given name Ferreolous might point to a connection with two 3rd century saints of that name, both of whom lived in what is now France.

St. Ferreolus, a priest, and his brother St. Ferrutio, a deacon, were born in Asia Minor. They were converted to Christianity by St. Polycarp of Smyrna. They went to Lyons, where they were ordained by St. Irenaeus. They evangelized the area around Besançon. They were beheaded in a perscution about 212. Their feast is June 16. [Michael Walsh, A New Dictionary of Saints: East and West (2007), 202.]

St. Ferreolus, a 3rd century martyr from Vienne. He is said to have been a Roman official and secret Christian. He was arrested for failing to apprehend Julian of Brioude, who had lived in his house. He refused to deny his faith, and was imprisoned. He escaped, but was caught after swimming the Rhône. He was beheaded on the spot. His feast is September 18. [Walsh, 202.]

The family might have come from Tarsus. A descendant was St. Tarsicia of Rodez. Her name means a resident of Tarsus. The possible connection to St. Polycarp is also suggestive.

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From the English Wikipedia page on Tonantius Ferreolus (prefect):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonantius_Ferreolus_(prefect)

Tonantius Ferreolus (405 or ca 420 – 475), was the praetorian prefect of Gaul (praefectus praetorio Galliarum) from 451.

He was either "personally related to" or "connected through (...) relatives" with Sidonius Apollinaris, and was associated with Thaumastus in the impeachment of Arvandus.

He was the son of Ferreolus, born say 390, and wife Syagria, clarissima femina (?), born c.390, and thus maternal grandson of Flavius Afranius Syagrius, Consul in 382.

He married Papianilla, clarissima femina, born ca 415, a niece of Emperor Avitus and the first cousin of another Papianilla, wife of Sidonius Apollinaris, and they had many children, among whom Tonantius Ferreolus. She was a partner who shared his troubles, according to Sidonius.

Sources and citations

Sidonius Apollinaris, The Letters of Sidonius (Oxford: Clarendon, 1915), pp. clx-clxxxiii

Christian Settipani, Les Ancêtres de Charlemagne (France: Éditions Christian, 1989).

Christian Settipani, Continuite Gentilice et Continuite Familiale Dans Les Familles Senatoriales Romaines A L'epoque Imperiale, Mythe et Realite, Addenda I - III (juillet 2000- octobre 2002) (n.p.: Prosopographica et Genealogica, 2002).

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Weis 180-2-h; no line given.

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From the French Wikipedia page on Tonantius Ferreolus (préfet):

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonantius_Ferreolus_(pr%C3%A9fet)

Tonantius Ferreolus (parfois francisé en Tonance Ferréol) (415 - 486) était un personnage important de la Gaule du ve siècle. C'est grâce au poème de Sidoine Apollinaire, intitulé : « Panégyrique de Narbonne » que nous connaissons Tonantius Ferreolus.

Biographie

Famille et jeunesse

Il était peut-être natif de Nîmes car on sait que sa famille avait des biens considérables dans la Narbonnaise première et que quelques-uns de ses descendants étaient originaires de Narbonne[1]. Sidoine Appolinaire nous apprends par exemple qu'il possède une villa à Trevidon, qui pourrait être localisée comme Saint-Laurent-de-Trèves (aujourd'hui en Lozère), soit assez proche de Nîmes[2].

Membre de la grande famille des Syagrii (petit-fils par sa mère du consul de 382, Flavius Afranius Syagrius), il était aussi un proche de Sidoine Apollinaire. Leurs épouses portaient en effet le même nom, Papianilla[3], ce qui peut laisser penser qu'elles étaient apparentées (l'épouse de Sidoine était elle-même la fille d'Avitus). Il avait des terres aux alentours de Nîmes, et une villa appelée Prusianus sur les bords du Gardon dont Sidoine décrit la beauté.

Carrière politique

Il fut préfet du prétoire des Gaules à Arles, de 450 à 452-453 [4], au moment de l'invasion d'Attila, et il joua un grand rôle par ses mesures judicieuses et sa diplomatie, notamment lors du siège d'Arles par les Wisigoths en 453. En 469, il fit partie de la délégation gallo-romaine à charge au procès d'Arvandus qui se tint à Rome. Ferréol qui avait une autre maison de campagne à proximité des Cévennes appelée Trévidon, s'y retira avant l'an 470. Il finit sa vie dans une grande dévotion chrétienne, d'après Sidoine.

Descendance

Parmi sa descendance, on connaît son fils Tonantius Ferreolus, sénateur de Narbonne[5], dont le même Sidoine parle avec éloge, et qui se distingua par son inclination naturelle et son goût pour les lettres, le fils [6] de ce dernier Roricius, évêque d'Uzès, et Saint Ferréol évêque de la même ville[7].

Plus tard, quand les carolingiens tentèrent de relier généalogiquement leur famille aux grandes lignées romaines, ils en firent un des ancêtres de Charlemagne.

Voir aussi

Notes

1. ↑ Cf. Dom Devic, dom Vaissète, Histoire générale de Languedoc

2. ↑ Félix Buffière, Ce tant rude Gévaudan [détail des éditions], tome I, chap. VII

3. ↑ D'après certains, il s'agit de la fille de Zénon l'Isaurien, alors Maître des milices de l'empire d'Orient. Le mariage, dans lequel Avitus avait servi d'intermédiaire, fut célébré à Constan­tinople et chacun s'efforça de dissimuler aux yeux de Tonance la tare de la famille de son épouse. En ramenant Papinianille à Narbonne puis à Arles, Tonance introduisait dans la maison de son père une hérétique nestorienne.

4. ↑ D'autres sources indiquent 450-453: Dom Vaissète indique 450-452 (Il mérita d'être élevé à la charge de préfet des Gaules qu'il occupa durant trois années consécutives, sçavoir l'année 452 et les deux précédentes), mais il semble bien être encore préfet en 453, lors du siège d'Arles par les Wisigoths.

5. ↑ Souvent appelé Tonantius Ferreolus II pour le distinguer de son père

6. ↑ Dom Vaissète indique probablement à tort qu'il s'agit du frère de Tonance (Parmi ceux-ci Tonante, dont le même Sidoine parle avec éloge, se distingua beaucoup par son inclination naturelle et son goût exquis pour les lettres. On lui donne pour frere Roricius évêque d'Usez dont nous parlerons ailleurs, aussi bien que de Saint Ferréol évêque de la même ville )

7. ↑ Cf. Dom Devic, dom Vaissète, Histoire générale de Languedoc

Bibliographie

A.H.M. JONES, J.R. MARTINDALE, J. MORRIS Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire T.2 395-527, Cambridge, 1971-1992

Christian Settipani, Les Ancêtres de Charlemagne, Paris, 1989, 170 p. (ISBN 2-906483-28-1)

Dom Claude Devic, dom Joseph Vaissète, Histoire générale de Languedoc.

André LOYEN, Sidoine Apollinaire et l'esprit précieux en Gaule aux derniers jours de l'Empire. Les Belles Lettres, 1943.

Lien externe

Généalogie de Tonantius Ferreolus et commentaires

http://erwan.gil.free.fr/base_gil/pag4.htm#494

In English:

Tonantius Ferreolus (sometimes rendered into French "Tonance Ferreol", 415-486) was an important figure in Gaul in the 5th century. It is thanks to the poem of Sidonius entitled "Panegyric of Narbonne" that we know of Tonantius Ferreolus.

Biography

Family and Youth

He was perhaps a native of Nimes, as we know that his family had considerable property in Narbonne first, and that some of his descendants came from Narbonne [1]. Sidonius Appolinaire wrote as an example of this in describing a villa in Trevidon, which could be located at St-Laurent-de-Trier (present Lozere), or pretty close to Nimes [2].

A member of the Syagri family (he is the maternal grandson of Consul Flavius Afranius Syagrius, ruled in 382). He was also a relative of Sidonius Apollinaris. Their wives were indeed of the same name, Papianille [3], which may suggest that they were relatives (the wife of Sidonius was herself the daughter of Avitus). He had land around Nimes, and a villa called Prusianus on the banks of the Gardon, which Sidonius described its beauty.

Political Career:

He was the Praetorian Prefect of Gaul and Arles from 450 to 452-453 [4], during the invasion of Atilla, and he played a major role through judicious measures and diplomacy in Gaul's defence, including during the siege of Arles by the Visigoths in 453. In 469, he was part of a Gallo-Roman delegation that supported Arvandus when he was held on trial in Rome. Ferreolus had another country house near the Cervennes called Trevidon, which he withdrew to in 470. He ended his life in great Christian devotion, according to Sidonius.

Progeny

Among his known descendants is his son Tonantius Ferreolus, Senator of Narbonne [5], of whom Sidonius speaks with the same praise as his father, and who distinguished himself by his natural inclination and taste for letters [6]. His sons included Roricus and St. Ferreolus, bishops of Uzes.

Later, when the Carolingians attempted to link their family genealogically to major Roman lineaes, they made Tonantius Ferreolus an ancestor of Charlemagne.

Notes:

1. Dom Devic, dom Vaissète, General History of Languedoc.

2. Felix Buffiere, As Tough as Gevaudan [retail edition], Book 1, Chapter VII.

3. According to some, she is the daughter of Zénon l'Isaurien, a master of the militia of the Empire in the East. Her marriage, in which Avitus had served as intermediary, was celebrated in Constantinople and everyone tried to conceal from Tonance his new wife. By marrying Papianille in Narbonne and Arles, Tonance had introduced into the house of his father a Nestorian heretic.

4. Other sources report 450-453, dom Vaissette says 450-452 (he deserved to be elevated to the office of Prefect of the Gauls he hed for three consecutive years, to wit, the year 452 and the previous two), but it still seems that he was Prefect in 453 during the siege of Arles by the Visigoths.

5. Often called Tonantius Ferreolus II to distinguish him from his father.

6. Dom Vaissette probably indicates that this is the wrong brother Tonance (Tonante among them, the same which Sindonius speaks with praise, many have distinguished himself with a natural inclination and exquisite taste for literature. He passed this along to Roricus, Bishop of Uzes, as well as his brother St. Ferreolus, bishop of the same city.

7. Devic Dom, dom Vaissette, General History of Languedoc.

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Tonantius Ferreolus, I's Timeline

390
390
France
425
425
Age 35
France
443
443
Age 53
Nimes, Languedoc, France

Marriage date is presumed from English Wikipedia's estimate that he was married at age 10. One would presume that the marriage wasn't consummated until some time later.

450
450
- 453
Age 60
France

As Tonantius Ferreolus takes his place as Praetorian Prefect, Atilla the Hun proclaims his intentions to attack the powerful Visigoth Kingdom of Toulouse. An alliance between Atilla and Roman Emperor Valentinian III is forged with the diplomatic help of the new Praetorian Prefect of Gaul and King Genseric of the Vandals and Alans (ruled 428-477). General Flavius Aetius was assigned as military commander of the Gallo-Roman expedition against the Visigoths.

However, matters are complicated when Emperor Valentinian's sister Honoria attempts to escape her forced betrothal to a Roman senator, and sends to Attila a plea for help and an engagement ring in the spring of that same year. Although Honoria may not have intended to propose marriage, Attila took it as a proposal and demanded half of the Western Roman Empire as dowry.

Emperor Valentinian was very close to ordering the death of his daughter when he received the demand for "dowry", and it was only the intervention of his mother Galla Placidia that saved Honoria, her granddaughter. She was sent into exile as Attila's emissary arrived at Ravenna to claim "what was rightfully his" (Honoria and half the empire).

The Honoria affair crippled the new alliance against the Visigoths, and placed Roman Gaul at jeopardy as Tonantius Ferreolus took his post as Prefect.

451
March 451
- September 19, 451
Age 61
Gaul (present France)

In the succession struggle that erupts this year after the fall of Sallian Frankish King Chlodio (he died in battle two years earlier against Roman General Flavius Aetius), Attila sides with the elder son, while General Aetius supports (literally adopts as his son) Merovech, the younger brother (later considered the founder of the Merovingian dynasty). Attila raises a great horde of his vassals, including Gepids, Ostrogoths, Rugians, Scirians, Heruls, Thuringians, Alans, and Burgundians, and marches westward, taking first Strasbourg and Worms, then Mainz at the gateway to Gallia Belgica. Jordanes writes that Attila's army was perhaps a half-million strong, likely an exaggeration, but illustrative of the size of Attila's army.

After taking Cologne and Trier, Attila seized Divodurum (Metz) on April 7. After the Frankish capital of Tornai and Rheims fall, the Hun army converges on Paris, and it is said that only the prayers of St. Genevieve had saved the city when Attila decided to drive southward against Aurelianum (Orleans) instead. After laying siege to Orleans, Attila marched eastward against Troyes, but outside the city, Bishop Lupus met the Hun leader in full episcopal regalia, and so impressed Attila that he spared the city.

Likely Tonantius Ferreolus remained at his post in Arelate (Arles) while General Flavius Aetius amassed a coalition to meet Attila at Orleans.

June 14, 451
- June 20, 451
Age 61
Châlons-en-Champagne, Champagne-Ardenne, France

Roman General Flavius Aetius and King Theodoric I of the Visigoths lead a coalition of Romans (under Aetius), Franks (under Merovech), Visigoths (under Theodoric), Burgundians (under Gondioc), Alans (under Sangiban), Saxons, Armorican Celts, and Sarmatians against the combined horde of Huns, Ostrogoths (under Valamir), Gepids (under Ardaric), Rugians, Scirians, Thuringians, Scythians, Bastarnae, Taifals, and Alamanni under Attila at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains near Chalons. Each side had about 30,000 men a piece.

After learning of the Hun invasion of Gaul, Roman General Flavius Aetius, with his protege Merovech, approached Visigoth King Theodoric I at Toulouse, proposing a coalition against the invaders. At first, Theodoric thought it best to wait for the Huns on his own land, letting Attila destroy the Romans, but with the help of Avitus, the Visigoth King saw the threat posed by a Hun victory.

On June 14, the Roman-Visigoth coalition arrived at Aurelianum (Orleans), forcing Attila to give up his nearly successful breach of the walls in his siege of that city. General Aetius pursued Attila as the Hun leader sought an advantageous place to make a stand. On the evening of June 19, Attila consulted his diviners, who foretold that a disaster would befall the Huns, but that one of the enemy leaders would be killed. Hoping it would be Aetius, Attila committed to battle at the Catalaunian Fields near Chalons in Champaign.

In the initial attack, Theodoric had apparently fallen from his horse and was trampled to death, though no one would find out about it until near the end of the battle. Attila himself was forced to defend from a ring of overturned wagons that served as fortifications around his camp. He ordered a heap of horse saddles piled together as a funeral pyre in case the Roman-Visigoth coalition managed to breach his fortifications, "so that none might have the joy of wounding him and that the lord of so many races might not fall into the hands of his foes."

As it seemed the end for Attila, General Aeitius recognized that destroying the Huns would leave the Romans vulnerable to Visigoth and Frankish attack, and he convinced both young leaders (Theodoric's son Thorismund, and Merovech) to return home and secure their thrones for themselves, while his Romans looted the battlefield by themselves.

Attila was allowed to return to his kingdom without interference, but with the defeat, his anti-Christian horde was already falling apart. For Tonantius Ferreolus, Attila's defeat at Chalons meant an end to the Hun threat in Gaul, but not an end to the threat posed by the other barbarians living in present France.

452
452
- 453
Age 62
Gaul (present France)

After securing the throne of his father, Theodoric I, against his brother Frederic, Eurich, Retimer, and Himmerith at Toulouse, King Thorismund returned to the field in 452, attacking the Alans, a nomadic Central Asian tribe that had partially located to the area north of the Loire River during the invasion of the Vandals. The invasion apparently didn't provide much to the Visigoth king, and Thorismund soon began to eye possible Roman concessions in Gaul. This was particularly so after two years of famine in Italy, and an invasion that threatened Rome itself by Attila (whom he had helped defeat only the year before with General Flavius Aetius, Rome's defender in its losing campaign).

Tonantius Ferreolus remained Praetorian Prefect of Gaul during Thorismund's invasion of Roman Gaul in 453 and his siege of Arelate (Arles). Thorismund had hoped to secure at least some concessions to stave off further attacks by his Visigoths. However, his brothers Theodoric II and Frederick, apparently sensing some weakness resulting from Thorismund's betrayal of Roman Gaul, used the moment to carry out the assassination of Thorismund, paying a servant to carry out the killing.

As Theodoric II became the new King of the Visigoths in Toulouse, Tonantius Ferreolus stepped down as Praetorian Prefect. He was succeeded by Priscus Valerianus, who held the reins of power even as the Western Roman Empire continued to disintegrate.

453
453
Age 63
Cévennes (present Florac), Languedoc, France
454
September 21, 454
Age 63
Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Killed by a conspiracy involving Senator Petronius Maximus and Chamberlain Heracles to provoke Emperor Valentinius III to carry out the act.

Tonantius Ferreolus was likely at Arelate (Arles) at the time of the General's death. The Praetorian Prefect of Gaul remained Priscus Valerianus.

455
March 16, 455
Age 63
Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

After Senator Petronius Maximus was foiled in his attempt to become Patrician (General) of Rome, succeeding Flavius Aetius, by Chamberlain Heraclius, Petronius arranges two Hun allies of Aetius, Optila and Thraustila to kill Emperor Valentinian III and Heraclius.

Tonantius Ferreolus likely remained in Arelate (Arles) during the assassination, and was not a participant. Priscus Valerianus remained Praetorian Prefect of Gaul.