Section 2

1. Igitur Martīnus Sabāriā Pannoniārum oppidō oriundus fuit, sed intrā Ītaliam Tīcīnī altus est, pārentibus secundum saeculī dignitātem nōn īnfimīs, gentīlibus tamen. 2. pater eius mīlēs prīmum, post tribūnus mīlitum fuit. ipse armātam mīlitiam in adulēscentiā secūtus inter scholārēs ālās sub rege Cōnstantiō, deinde sub Iūliānō Caesare mīlitāvit: nōn tamen sponte, quia ā prīmīs ferē annīs dīvīnam potius servitūtem sacra illustris puerī spīrāvit īnfantia. 3. nam cum esset annōrum decem, invītīs parentibus ad ecclēsiam cōnfūgit sēque catēchūmenum fierī postulāvit. 4. mox mīrum in modum totus in Deī opere conversus, cum esset annōrum duodecim, erēmum concupīvit, fēcissetque vōtīs satis, sī aetātis īnfirmitās nōn obstitisset. animus tamen aut circā monastēria aut circā ecclēsiam semper intentus meditābātur adhuc in aetāte puerīlī, quod posteā dēvōtus implēvit.

5. sed cum ēdīctum esset a rēgibus, ut veterānōrum fīliī ad mīlitiam scrīberentur, prōdente patre, quī fēlicibus eius āctibus invidēbat, cum esset annōrum quīndecim, captus et catēnātus sacrāmentīs mīlitāribus implicātus est, ūnō tantum servō comite contentus, cui tamen versā vice dominus serviēbat, adeo ut plērumque eī et calciamenta ipse dētraheret et ipse dētergeret, cibum ūnā caperent, hic tamen saepius ministrāret. 6. triennium ferē ante baptismum in armīs fuit, integer tamen ab iīs vītiīs, quibus illud hominum genus implicārī solet. 7. multa illius circā commīlitōnēs benignitās, mīra cāritās, patientia vērō atque humilitās ultrā hūmānum modum. nam frūgālitātem in eō laudāri nōn est necesse, quā ita ūsus est, ut iam illō tempore nōn mīlēs, sed monachus putārētur. prō quibus rēbus ita sibi omnēs commīlitōnēs dēvīnxerat, ut eum mīrō affectū venerārentur. 8. necdum tamen regeneratus in Christō agēbat quendam bonīs operibus baptismi candidātum: assistere scīlicet labōrantibus, opem ferre miserīs, alēre egentēs, vestīre nūdōs, nihil sibi ex mīlitiae stīpendiīs praeter cotīdiānum victum reservāre: iam tum ēvangeliī nōn surdus audītor, dē crastinō nōn cōgitābat.

Martin grew up in a military family and became a soldier, serving in the imperial guard under Constantius II. But from his earliest youth he desired to serve God, and as a soldier he was amazingly humble, kind, frugal, and generous.

Sabaria: Savaria, mod. Szombathely, Hungary. An important town in the province of Upper PannoniaSatellite image. The emperor Septimius Severus was proclaimed Augutsus there, and Valentinian resided there for some time. Smith's Dictionary.

Pannoniarum: 'the Pannonias', a frontier zone along the Danube, including parts of modern Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. For military and administrative reasons Pannonia was successively subdivided until, in Martin's day, it included "Upper Pannonia" (Pannonia I and Savia, to the west) and and "Lower Pannonia" (Pannonia II and Valeria, to the east). Hence the plural "Pannonias." Pannonia was itself a subdivision of the larger area called Illyricum, embracing the whole Danube frontier area in the western Balkans.

oriundus: 'born' (the date was c. 316-17 AD)

Ticini: 'at Ticinum' (locative), the modern Pavia in the Po valley, northern Italy. A flourishing municipal town during the high empire, the main road that continued the Aemilian Way from Placentia to the foot of the Alps passed through it.

parentibus: 'of parents', abl. of origin.

saeculi dignitatem: 'the social status of the secular world'.

primum . . . post: 'at first . . . later'.

tribunus militum: 'commander', originally of a legion, but in this period of any active army detachment [Fontaine 2.437].

scholares alas: 'imperial guard'.

Constantio: Flavius Iulius Constantius, or Constantius II, second son of Constantine I, emperor AD 337-361.

Iuliano: Flavius Claudius Iulianus, or Julian the Apostate,emperor AD 361-3.

illustris: 'remarkable'.

spiravit: 'expressed the spirit of'. The subject is sacra . . . infantia.

invitis parentibus: 'against the will of his parents', abl. absolute.

mirum in modum: 'in an amazing way', 'amazingly'--a frequently used expression in this work.

conversus: 'having (been) turned toward' (w/ in + abl.). Classical Latin would use in or ad + acc. with this word.

eremus: (sc. locus) 'wilderness, desert'.

fecissetque votis satis: 'and he would have satisfied his desires' (> satis facere + dat., 'satisfy, give satisfaction to'). Pluperfect subj. in a contrary to fact condition. (AG 514)

meditabatur . . . quod . . . implevit: 'was rehearsing . . . that which . . . it carried out'.

devotus: 'when dedicated completely' (to God).

edictum esset: 'it had been decreed' (> edico).

regibus: 'the emperors'. Beginning in the late 3rd century there were usually more than one, sharing power.

scriberentur: 'be enrolled'.

actibus: 'actions' (> actus -us m.)

comite: 'as a companion' (> comes -itis m.).

tantum: 'only' (Adv.).

adeo ut: 'so much so, that' (a common way of introducing a result clause).

cibum una caperent: 'ate together with'.

hic: Martin.

in armis fuit: 'was under arms', i.e., served as a soldier.

multa illius . . . benignitas: 'much (was) the kindness of that man around his fellow-soldiers', i.e. 'he displayed much kindness toward his fellow-soldiers'. Classical Latin would prefer illi for illius and erga or in for circa.

qua usus est: 'which he had'.

agebat quendam . . . baptismi candidatum: 'he was acting as a kind of candidate for baptism' (quendam > quidam).

assistere...ferre, alere...vestire...reservare: these infinitives explain the previous clause: 'by assisting...by aiding, by feeding' etc. For this 'epexegetic' use of the infinitive, see AG 461.

laborantibus: 'the suffering', substantive use of the participle (AG 561).

secundum: (adv. and prep.) following, after, behind

adulēscentia -ae. f.: the time of youth, youth

scolāres -ium m.: the imperial guard

sponte: (abl.) of one's own accord, willingly

servitūs -ūtis f.: slavery, servitude

spīrō spīrāre: breathe, blow

īnfantia -ae f.: infancy, early childhood

invītus -a -um: unwilling, reluctant

cōnfugiō -fugere -fūgī: flee ( for help), take refuge in or with

duodecim: twelve

erēmus -i m.: wilderness, desert

concupīscō -cupīscere -cupīvī -ītum: desire eagerly

infirmitās -ātis f.: weakness, feebleness

obstō -stāre -stitī: stand in the way of; oppose, obstruct

meditor -āri: think about, consider, meditate upon

dēvoveō -vovēre -vōvī -vōtum: set apart by vows, devote

veterānus -a -um: old, veteran

āctus -ūs m.: act, deed

invideō -vidēre -vīdī -vīsum: look on, envy (+ dat.)

quīndecim: fifteen

catēnātus -a -um: chained, fettered

sacrāmentum -ī n.: oath, solemn obligation

mīlitāris -e: pertaining to a soldier, military, martial

contentus -a -um: contented, satisfied

vicis f.: change, interchange, alteration, vicissitude

calciāmentum -ī n.: shoe

dētrahō -trahere -trāxī -trāctum: draw off, pull off, rob (+dat. or abl.)

dētergeō -tergēre -tersī -tersum: wipe off, wipe clean

ministrō -āre: attend to, manage, furnish

triennium -ī n.: three years

commīlitō -ōnis m.: comrade, fellow-soldier

benīgnitās -ātis f.: favour, courtesy

cāritās -ātis f.: dearness

frūgālitās -tātis f.: temperance, frugality; worth, virtue

dēvinciō -vincīre -vinxī -vinctum: attach closely

veneror -ārī: venerate, worship

necdum: not yet

regenerō -āre: bring forth again; regenerate

candidātus -ī m.: candidate

egeō egēre eguī: be destitute, lack

stīpendium -i n.: pay, stipend

cotīdiānus -a -um: daily

victus -ūs m.: provisions, food; mode of living

ēvangelium -ī n.: good news; the Gospel

surdus -a -um: deaf

audītor -ōris m.: hearer; pupil, disciple

crastinum -ī n.: tomorrow, the morrow

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Suggested Citation

Christopher Francese, Sulpicius Severus: Life of St. Martin. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-947822-03-0. http://dcc.dickinson.edu/sulpicius-severus/section-2