18: Childeric fought a battle at Orléans. Adovacrius came to Angers with the Saxons. A great plague devastated the people. Aegidius died and left a son called Syagrius. This man [Aegidius] having died, Adovacrius received hostages from Angers and other places. The Britons were expelled from Bourges by the Goths, many of them having been killed at Vicus Dolensius [Bourg de Déols]. Count Paul with Romans and Franks waged war on the Goths and took booty [from them]. Adovacrius having come to Angers, Childeric came the next day and, Count Paul having been killed, captured the city. That day the Domus Ecclesiae burnt down in a great fire.
19: These things having been done, a great war was waged between the Saxons and the Romans but the Saxons, turning their backs, with the Romans pursuing, lost many of their men to the sword. Their islands were captured and ravaged by the Franks, many people being killed. In that year in the ninth month there was a great earthquake. Odovacrius [Odoacer, the King of Italy, and not the Adovacrius leading the Saxons in ch.18] made a treaty with Childeric and subjugated the Alamanni who had invaded part of Italy.
If you break the passage up into its sentences it looks like this:
- Childeric fought a battle at Orléans.
- Adovacrius came to Angers with the Saxons.
- A great plague devastated the people.
- Aegidius died and left a son called Syagrius.
- This man [Aegidius] having died, Adovacrius received hostages from Angers and other places.
- The Britons were expelled from Bourges by the Goths, many of them having been killed at Vicus Dolensius [Bourg de Déols].
- Count Paul with Romans and Franks waged war on the Goths and took booty [from them]. Adovacrius having come to Angers, Childeric came the next day and, Count Paul having been killed, captured the city.
- That day the Domus Ecclesiae burnt down in a great fire.
- A great war was waged between the Saxons and the Romans but the Saxons, turning their backs, with the Romans pursuing, lost many of their men to the sword.
- Their islands were captured and ravaged by the Franks, many people being killed.
- In that year in the ninth month there was a great earthquake.
- Odovacrius made a treaty with Childeric and subjugated the Alamanni who had invaded part of Italy.
Set out like that, the passage clearly resembles a set of annals and for that reason, and the prominence of Angers in the account, historians have long been accustomed to refer to Histories 2.18 as the Annales Andecavenses: the Annals of Angers.
I don't want to discuss the events described, although these are interesting and important. Instead I want to think a little more about this lost source. Quantitatively at least, most narrative historical composition in the fifth and sixth centuries took the form of chronica minora, minor chronicles or annals, and one of the most common ways of organising such annalistic sources was by consul. It had long been the custom to identify a year by the individuals who held the consulate at the start of the year. Annals were thus frequently compiled by taking a list of years/consuls and adding key events that happened in that year. Several such consularia are known from late antiquity, notably the Consularia Constantinopolitana. It may, therefore, very well be the case that the 'Annals of Angers' of which Gregory had a copy took this form.
He seems to have taken other information from this source. In the celebrated chapter 9 of Book Two of the Histories, where he undertakes research into the origins of the kings of the Franks, Gregory tells us that we read 'in the consular lists' (in consolaribus) that Theudemer son of Richimer, king of the Franks, and Ascyla his mother werre executed with the sword. The event seems to have taken place in the earlier fifth century, if we can judge from where Gregory places it in his account, immediately before his reference to Chlogio (or Chlodio), who is also mentioned by Sidonius and from whom 'they say' (in Gregory's words) Merovech was descended. The execution of Theudemer and Ascyla is not mentioned in any surviving consularia, as far as I know. I wonder if this is another piece of information that Gregory drew from his Annales Andecavenses, which I propose that we could rename the Consularia Andecavensia.
That leads me to a final suggestion. In Book Two, Chapter 38, Gregory tells us that Clovis came to Tours after his victory over the Visigoths at Vouillé. Gregory says that he received letters from Emperor Anastasius conferring the consulate upon him. After describing a victory procession, Gregory says that from that day on Clovis was called consulus aut augustus. This is a passage that has often puzzled historians. As I have written before, itseems to me (as to Michael McCormick in his book on triumphal rulership) that Clovis might indeed have allowed people to call him augustus, as his contemporary Theoderic the Ostrogoth ceratinly did, without actually taking the title. His consulate, however, as many have pointed out, is attested in no list of consuls ... or at least in no surviving list of consuls. Officially at least Gregory seems to have been mistaken, but there were often diverging views on these things. Some eastern consuls were not recognised in the west and vice versa. A Trier inscription suggests that Constantine 'III' thought he held a consulate, although this has - at best - been expunged from the surviving lists. I would, especially given the Loire valley location of the episode, like to suggest that in writing his account of Clovis' victory celebration after Vouillé, Gregory perhaps embroidered and interwove with details from other sources information from a document that did indeed list Clovis as consul for 507 or 508, and that that source was the same document from which he took other information concerning the history of the Franks, the lost Consularia Andecavensia.
Disclaimer: For all I know, someone has already suggested this. I don't know anyone who has done so, or cited such, in recent decades but there could well be some scholarly article in German from the first half of the last century that does.