Online Medieval Sources Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography of Printed and Online Primary Sources for the Middle Ages

Source Details

McCulloh, John, ed., Martyrologium (Turnhout: Brepols Series)

Text name(s): 

Number of pages of primary source text: 134


Dates: 840 - 854

Archival Reference: 

Original Language(s): 

  • Latin


  • Original language included.

Translation Comments: 

Geopolitical Region(s): 

  • Germany
  • Europe

County/Region: Mainz, Fulda

Record Types: 

  • Hagiography

Subject Headings: 

  • Literature - Devotional
  • Saints
  • Saints - Cults / Relics
  • Literature - Folklore, Legends
  • Historiography


  • Index
  • Introduction


In composing his Martyrology, the monk Hrabanus Maurus drew from several martyrological works, the most significant of which is the Bede’s historical Martyrology. Hrabanus expanded, altered, and transcribed many of brief notices he takes from Bede’s work. Hrabanus also drew upon several forms of the Martyrologium Hieronymianum, a martyrological work that exists in a number of copies. Hrabanus’ other sources include a large number of Passiones (narrative of the Passion of Christ) and Vitae (lives) of individual saints or groups of saints. In particular, the Passionarium maius of St. Gall has been identified as the source of the passionary in his own Martyrology. In addition to such devotional sources, a number of historical and literary works served as models for Hrabanus. For example, 19 of his historical notices are taken verbatim from the papal biographies found in the Liber pontificalis. Likewise, Hrabanus borrowed extensively from Pope Gregory’s Dialogues and occasionally upon the Historia Francorum (History of the Franks), In Gloria Martyrum (In Glory of the Martyrs), and the Liber Vitae Patrum (the Lives of the Fathers) of Gregory of Tours. Far from being a deep-seated research into current records, his Martyrology is the result of the author’s selective and intensive use of a few older sources.

Introduction Summary: 

In his long introduction (84 pages), the editor John McCulloh opens with an account of Hrabanus early life in Mainz, the setbacks to his academic careers, and his elevation to the office of abbot of the monastery of Fulda. Devoting attention to Hrabanus’ early writings (such as De virtutibus et vitiis), he discusses the sources of his Martyrology. The editor distingushes between the hagiographical and literary sources that Hrabanus drew upon, and comments on the author’s method of composition. Nearly half of the introduction is devoted to the manuscript history of Hrabanus’ Martyrology, with close attention paid to the dating, distribution and derivatives of the whole work. In the last few pages, the editor surveys earlier editions of the work (esp. the one that was printed in 1604)and comments on the nature of the current edition, justifying his choice of the S mansucript as his basic manuscript.

Cataloger: AT