The story


Chrocus (also known as Crocus) was a king of the Alemanni who invaded Roman Gaul c. Conversely, he was a king of the Alemanni who served Rome and supported Constantine the Great (r. 306-337 CE) in his struggle to become sole emperor of the Roman Empire. According to yet another version of history, he was a Vandal warlord who, after conquering Germania, invaded Gaul c. 406 CE and destroyed every city he encountered until he was stopped by the Romans at Arles and, after being made to view the misery he had wrought, was killed. He lived either c. 256 CE, c. 306 CE, or c. 406 CE, depending upon the source one accepts as valid.

There are three primary sources for King Chrocus and his involvement with Rome: The History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours (written between 580-594 CE), The Chronicle of Fredegar (written in the 7th century CE), and The Epitome of Caesaribus (written late 4th century CE). All three sources present a different view of Chrocus of the Alemanni. Of these three, Gregory's work is usually accepted as the most reliable concerning Chrocus, but it has been noted that Gregory was not writing objective history; rather, he was using historical events to drive home important theological lessons. The historian and scholar Earnest Brehaut, in the introduction to his 1916 CE translation of Gregory's work, writes:

The History of the Franks must not be looked upon as a secular history. The old title, Ecclesiastical History of the Franks, is a better one descriptively. It is written not from the point of view of the Gallo-­Roman or the Frank, but solely from that of the churchman, almost that of the bishop. Gregory does not take a tone of loyalty to the Frankish kings, much less of inferiority. His attitude toward them is cold, unless they are zealous supporters of the church, and he speaks with the utmost disgust of their civil wars which seemed to him absolute madness in view of the greater war between the good and evil supernatural powers. (iii)

According to GreGory, Chrocus sacked numerous cities, destroyed churches, & slaughtered the inhabitants of Gaul indiscriminately.

In Gregory's view, Chrocus was the embodiment of the forces of evil. His wanton destruction of Gaul and murder of Christians was finally halted by the civilized Romans at Arles, where he was captured and received "just punishment" for his crimes; he was tortured and then executed or, as Gregory writes, "killed with a sword." Prior to his defeat at Arles, however, Chrocus sacked numerous cities, destroyed churches, and slaughtered the inhabitants of Gaul indiscriminately.

According to Fredegar's account, "Not a single city or fortification was saved in Gaul", and Gregory writes that Chrocus' aim was nothing less than "razing to the ground all the buildings constructed in ancient times." Many of these buildings had been temples to pagan gods but were now churches and, in his rampage, he also made martyrs of many bishops and priests of the church.

Gregory of Tours' Version of Chrocus

Gregory (l. c. 538-594 CE) was the Bishop of Tours and a very devout Christian, and his works bear the stamp of his faith. His work focuses on the cunning of King Chrocus and his destruction of the sanctuaries in Gaul, most notably the Vasso Galate, a former temple to Mercury, which was at that time an important church. His passage on Chrocus reads:

Valerian and Galienus received the Roman imperial power in the twenty-­seventh place, and set on foot a cruel persecution of the Christians. At that time Cornelius brought fame to Rome by his happy death, and Cyprian to Carthage. In their time also Chrocus the famous king of the Alemanni raised an army and overran the Gauls. This Chrocus is said to have been very arrogant. And when he had committed a great many crimes he gathered the tribe of the Alemanni, as we have stated, by the advice, it is said, of his wicked mother, and overran the whole of the Gauls, and destroyed from their foundations all the temples which had been built in ancient times. And coming to Clermont he set on fire, overthrew, and destroyed that shrine which they call Vasso Galatae in the Gallic tongue. It had been built and made strong with wonderful skill. And its wall was double, for on the inside it was built of small stone and on the outside of squared blocks. The wall had a thickness of thirty feet. It was adorned on the inside with marble and mosaics. The pavement of the temple was also of marble and its roof above was of lead. (I. 32)

Gregory's account thus places the invasion of the Alemanni under Chrocus at some point during the reigns of Valerian and Gallienus (253-258 CE) usually dated to c. 256 CE. After destroying the magnificent temple of the Vasso Galatae, he continued cutting a swath of destruction through the land until he was stopped at Arles where his forces were defeated by the Romans and he was captured and executed. This version of Chrocus' invasion is considered the most reliable because, even though Gregory was using history to make theological points, he seems to have had access to primary documents no longer extant and, within the scope of his work, made good use of them.

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Chrocus in Fredegar's Chronicle

The author of The Chronicle of Fredegar is unknown, but it is clear he used Gregory's work as the basis for his passages on Chrocus and omitted those details that he considered unnecessarily moralistic, confining, or personally distasteful. Whether an individual named "Fredegar" actually existed is debated but, based upon references in his work, it is thought the writer (or writers) lived in the region associated with the Alemanni.

He therefore changed Chrocus' nationality from that of Alemanni to Vandal in order to disassociate the conqueror and his destruction of Germania and Gaul from his own people. Following Gregory's main narrative, he also focuses on Chrocus' destructive invasion and the decimation of cities:

There, with cunning, he crossed a bridge over the Rhine at Mainz and first destroyed that city and killed its inhabitants and then besieged all the cities in Germania. When he arrived in Metz, as a divine sign the town wall collapsed at night and the town was taken by the Vandals. However, the people of Trier fled to the city's arena, which they had fortified, and were saved. After that Chrocus invaded all of Gaul with the Vandals, Suevs, and Alans and destroyed a number of cities through siege and others through cunning. Not a single city or fortification was saved in Gaul. When he besieged Arles, Chrocus was captured by a certain soldier named Marius and put in chains. As punishment, he was then led through all the cities that he had destroyed and his impious life was put to an end. Trasamundus succeeded him as ruler. (II, 60, as cited in Goeing, 76-77)

Fredegar makes a number of interesting changes to Gregory's narrative so that, in the words of the historian Schwelder, he "seems to have had a completely different Chrocus in mind than Gregory" (Goeing, 79). In Fredegar's account, Chrocus is a Vandal chieftain and the invasion takes place c. 406 CE. In 406 CE the Vandals were driven into Gaul by the invading Huns and, in 409 CE, they began to settle in Iberia. Fredegar would have been acquainted with the Vandal invasion and so perhaps conflated the Chrocus of the Alemanni with a later Vandal chieftain or, as previously noted, simply did not want Chrocus associated with the Alemanni.

It is also possible that a 3rd-century CE invasion of Gaul by the Alemanni was completely unknown to Fredegar and he thought Gregory must have meant the 406 CE incursion by the Vandals. Schwelder writes:

To Fredegar, the passage in Gregory's work, which attributes Chrocus to the years 253-258, seemed implausible since it did not fit into his chronological scheme of reference - in Fredegar's eyes, the bishop of Tours must have erred and he silently corrected him. (Goeing, 79)

Other accounts of the Vandal invasion also cite a Chrocus as leader, but these come after Fredegar and no doubt relied on him as a source. It is generally accepted that the Chrocus who invaded Gaul was an Alemanni warlord whose people called him their king and was not a member of the Germanic tribe known as the Vandals. It is further accepted that Chrocus' invasion took place c. 256 CE and not c. 406-409 CE.

The Epitome of Caesaribus & Chrocus

The Epitome of Caesaribus was attributed to the Roman historian Aurelius Victor (l. 320-390 CE) but is now recognized to have been written by an anonymous author who was most likely pagan (or at least held a dim view of Christianity and Christians) in the late 4th century CE. This author places King Chrocus as the leader of an Alemanni unit known as the Regii ("of the king") in the Roman army who, in 306 CE, supports Constantine's ascension as emperor.

Schwelder has noted that, since the author of the Epitome was hostile to Christianity, he could have purposefully used the figure of Chrocus from the past - an Alemanni king associated with destruction and cruelty - to malign the Christian emperor and that "the passage could therefore be a later fabrication" (Goeing, 81). It is possible that this later Chrocus was a different leader of the Alemanni than the Chrocus who invaded Gaul, but this is unlikely. There is no other source that makes mention of a Chrocus of the Alemanni associated with Constantine the Great and, with a figure of such looming significance as Constantine, one would expect more information on a man who assisted in his rise to power.

The real Chrocus, King of the Alemanni, may never be known. He presents an excellent example of how history is recorded & what makes a historical event "true" or "not true".

The Epitome of Caesaribus consists of short biographies of Roman rulers from Augustus to Theodosius I which highlight important moments of their reigns, so it is possible that the anonymous writer or writers simply did not have time or space to elaborate on the role Chrocus is said to have played in Constantine's ascension. Even so, the fact that no other source mentions a Chrocus in such an association has led scholars, Schwelder among them, to conclude that the Chrocus character in the Constantine biography is a fiction and was most likely added to discredit Constantine's reputation by suggesting he was supported by someone as disreputable as Chrocus.

As the literate audience would have been largely Christian by the end of the 4th century CE, however, the intended effect was probably never realized. Even those Christians who would have recognized the name of Chrocus from 200 years before would hardly have been upset that the first Christian emperor was aided by a murderous barbarian; this would have simply been interpreted as part of God's grand design to bring good from whatever source he saw fit. Later sources rely on the Epitome of Caesaribus for their version of Chrocus' role in Constantine's ascension and, in the modern day, Chrocus continues to be cited as an Alemanni king and commander in the Roman army who supported Constantine, even though it is likely no such commander existed.


The real Chrocus, King of the Alemanni, may never be known. In the modern day, he is of interest not so much because of what he did but because he presents such an excellent example of how history is recorded and what makes a historical event "true" or "not true". Schwelder writes:

Taking all three versions of Chrocus into account, one can see that Chrocus was a suitable, mouldable figure who could be fitted into a line of argument to strengthen different views. The historical Chrocus was intended to be forgotten; the literary Chrocus was adapted and included to heighten the effect in different master narratives. (Goeing, 81)

The best one seems to be able to say is that once there was an Alemanni king named Chrocus who invaded Gaul and lay waste to the cities and churches he found there before he met defeat and was executed by the Romans. His motivation for the invasion is unknown, and even the period in which he lived and reigned is debated. As the sub-title of the Anja-Sylvia Goeing text phrases it, history consists of what is kept and what is discarded and, in the case of King Chrocus - as, no doubt, with many others - those events that did not fit the historian's world view and narrative were discarded; the result is history.


Crocus (English plural: crocuses or croci) is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family comprising 90 species of perennials growing from corms. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring. The spice saffron is obtained from the stigmas of Crocus sativus, an autumn-blooming species. Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in North Africa and the Middle East, central and southern Europe, in particular Krokos, Greece, [2] on the islands of the Aegean, and across Central Asia to Xinjiang Province in western China. [1] [3] [4]

Etymological Meaning of the Crocus

The name of the plant is derived from “krokos”, an ancient Greek name for saffron (Crocus sativus).

Crocus is a genus of about 90 species of perennials in the Iridaceae family, native to Asia, North Africa, Mediterranean Europe and Alps.
Crocus sativus, commonly known as Saffron Crocus, is the most important species of the genus. It has three stigmas and parts of it are often dried and used as a spice and a coloring agent. it’s worth to mention that the spice saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, mainly because it’s hand-harvested and requires a lot of manual work.

The forms of Crocus vernus seen blooming in spring gardens are certainly well
known, but there are many other Crocus species with a wide range of colors,
forms, and blooming dates which are seldom grown in American gardens even
where .

. might well be used extensively in wetWinter it appreciates a little cloche
protection The history of Arbutus Unedo , or , to . flowering Plum makes a the
tree is growing in this country they garden varieties of Crocus , which provide a
beautiful .

ISBN: CORNELL:31924061319954

Crocus of the Alemanni

Chrocus or Crocus, also Croc, Krokus, Crochus or Croscus (fl. 260–306) was a leader of the Alamanni in the late 3rd century. In 260, he led an uprising of the Alamanni against the Roman Empire, traversing the Upper Germanic Limes and advancing as far as Clermont [disambiguation needed] , and possibly as far as Ravenna, and he was possibly present at the Alamannic conquest of the Frankish town of Mende.

According to Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks, Chrocus was a famous king of his time, and was responsible for a great deal of destruction throughout Gaul, most notably of all ancient temples located in Gaul though this may have been exaggerated. One of the temples he allegedly tore down was called the Vasso Galatæ, a marvelous structure that once stood in Clermont. Many legends lived on about Crocus and some have him dead in 260, others still talk of him alive in 403.

Crocus/Chrocus, in many records described as king of the Alamanni or Vandals, aided with his troops, among them the Alamanni Latinus, Agilo and Scudilo, in Constantine I's proclamation as emperor. In 306, he was present as a general in Roman service at the death of Constantius Chlorus in York, Britannia, and called for his son Constantinus to be declared the new Roman Emperor.

Spring-Flowering Crocus Companion Plants

Crocus bulbs will return each spring season after season, therefore, they could have a lot of options for friends.

You really cannot go wrong with a companion for your flowering crocus bulbs. It simply boils down to your individual preference, color choice, and sunlight needs.

Companion plants to consider:

  • Violas, like Johnny Jump Ups
  • Pansies
  • Daffodils,
  • Tulips
  • Grape Hyacinth
  • Alliums
  • Hyacinth

The Magical Crocus

he crocus is traditionally used by witches for the spring festivals, Imbolc and Ostara. It’s also associated with goddesses like Aphrodite and Venus, which is probably due to its status as a love plant. Though its links with Persephone could be due to its return every spring (like other bulbs).

The flower is also associated with the sign of Aquarius, along with amaranth, mimosa and snowdrops (Webster 2008: 106).

I encountered these crocuses on the way home © Icy Sedgwick

So if you wanted to use it in a magical sense, its scent would be a good way to involve the plant. Or if your budget will stretch to it, use a little saffron.

Witchipedia notes that saffron works well in spells for wealth, strength, or recognition. Saffron is associated with the element of fire, and the star sign of Leo. Obviously, saffron’s hefty price tag makes it an excellent spice to attract more wealth!

History of the Crocus

It was in the year 300 B.C. that the Greek Writers first knew about the Crocus. It was believed that it appeared first in some regions of Greece and Turkey until it reached Britain. The species Crocus sativus was the first one to arrive until it grew abundantly in the north coast area of Africa and the Middle East and since then it was used commercially since the medieval times. And it was during the reign of King Edward VI that the Crocus plan was first introduced in the part of Essex.

Its name was derived from the Latin word “crocatus” which mean saffron yellow, Krokos, which is the Greek word for saffron. The saffron spice actually came from the stigmas of Crocus sativus. It is autumn or fall blooming species of Crocus that has lilac or white flowers. In fact, saffron is the most expensive spice that can be found in the world today. Gardeners or farmer specifically hand picks it when it’s harvesting time. They used it as a flavoring in Mediterranean rice dishes.

Saffron History

Saffron with the scientific name of Crocus Sativus is part of Iridaceae family. Some sources like Americana Encyclopedia mentioned that this word has come from Corycus. Which, was a place in eastern side of Mediterranean called Cilicia.

Some people believe that saffron came from old Iranian (Mads), on the other hand some have the idea that it came from Greece, Turkey and Asia Minor.

While Iranian were exporting saffron around the world, they introduced its benefits to Greeks, Romans, Chinses. In addition, in first to fourth centuries AH, Iranian taught Arabs how to produce saffron.

There are historical evidences that show Iranian have had a special concern regarding saffron production since very long time ago. They used saffron in most of their parties such as celebrating for new year and in their weddings.

The Achaemenids used saffron to decorate breeds and fragrant foods. Ferdinand Justi says about Darush the Achaemenid’s king “The Iranian kings take shower with an oil which was mad from sunflower cooked in lime paste with saffron and palm wine”. At Parthians time Persian Saffron were exported to Greece and Rome, and after that Chinese became Persian saffron customer too.

In addition there are other evidence from that duration. Which, saffron was one of the materials that people used it to color money papers, as lnk for writhing important books and kings’ orders. At 10th century, Arabs brought cultivation of saffron which learned it from Iranian to Spain were became the start of saffron cultivation in Europe.

North American

Saffron made its way to the Americas when thousands of Alsacian, German, and Swiss Anabaptists, Dunkards, and others fled religious persecution in Europe. They settled mainly in eastern Pennsylvania, in the Susquehanna River valley. These settlers, who became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, were by 1730 widely cultivating saffron after corms were first brought to America in a trunk owned by German adherents of a Protestant sect known as the Schwenkfelder Church. Schwenkfelders, as members were known, were great lovers of saffron, and had grown it back in Germany. Soon, Pennsylvania Dutch saffron was being successfully marketed to Spanish colonists in the Caribbean, while healthy demand elsewhere ensured that its listed price on the Philadelphia commodity exchange was set equal to that of gold.

However, the War of 1812 destroyed many of the merchant vessels that transported American saffron abroad. Pennsylvanian saffron growers were afterwards left with surplus inventory, and trade with the Caribbean markets never recovered. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania Dutch growers developed many uses for saffron in their own home cooking, including cakes, noodles, and chicken or trout dishes. Saffron cultivation survived into modern times mainly in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.