Martyrologist; fl. Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 838 to 875. When he first appeared in history in 838, he was already a monk and a priest. In 858 or 860, he and several companions made a journey to Spain in search of relics, returning in 863. For the edification of his brothers Usuard recounted stories he had heard of Spanish martyrs. Shortly thereafter, while he was a monk at saintgermain-des-prÉs in Paris (c. 875), he began compiling a martyrology (Patrologia Latina, ed. j. p. migne 123:453–992; 124:1–860) at the order of Emperor Charles II the Bald. In this work he combined certain features of two types of martyrologies then in vogue. The older models consisted of a simple listing of saints' names under appropriate feast days. But later compilers, notably ado of vienne, had begun to include information about each saint's life, thus providing the reader with inspirational material. Usuard combined both types, sometimes merely giving the saints' names, in other cases providing hagiographical material. His work borrowed heavily from that of Ado, as well as from St. jerome, bede, and florus of lyons. In some cases he inserted materials he himself had collected in Spain. His work became the model for every later Roman martyrology.
Bibliography: h. quentin, Les Martyrologes historiques du moyen âge (Paris 1908). É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant, 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables générales 1951–) 15.2:2313–16.
[r. e. sullivan]