Giles is the subject of an elaborate and largely unhistorical anonymous Latin legend first attested in the 10th century.

According to the legend, Giles first lived in retreats near the mouth of the Rhône and by the River Gard in the Visigothic Kingdom. Finally he withdrew deep into the forest near Nîmes, where in the greatest solitude he spent many years, his sole companion being his dear deer, or red deer, who in some stories sustained him on her milk. Giles ate a Christian vegetarian diet. This retreat was finally discovered by the king's hunters, who had pursued the hind to its place of refuge. An arrow shot at the deer wounded the saint instead, who afterwards became a patron of the physically disabled. The king, Wamba, held the hermit in high esteem for his humility in rejecting all honors save having some disciples. Wamba built him a monastery in his valley, Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, which Giles placed under the Benedictine rule. He died there in the early part of the 8th century, with the highest repute for sanctity and miracles.


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