Section 20

1. Atque ut minōra tantīs īnseram — quamvīs, ut est nostrōrum aetās temporum, quibus iam dēprāvāta omnia atque corrupta sunt, paene praecipuum sit, adūlātiōnī rēgiae sacerdōtālem nōn cessisse cōnstantiam —, cum ad imperātōrem Maximum, ferōcis ingeniī virum et bellōrum cīvīlium victōriā ēlātum, plūrēs ex dīversīs orbis partibus epīscopī convēnissent et foeda circā prīncipem omnium adūlātiō notārētur sēque dēgenere incōnstantiā rēgiae clientēlae sacerdōtālis dignitās subdidisset, in sōlō Martīnō apostolica auctōritās permanēbat. 2. nam et sī prō aliquibus rēgī supplicandum fuit, imperāvit potius quam rogāvit, et a convīviō eius frequenter rogātus abstinuit, dīcēns sē mēnsae eius participem esse nōn posse, quī imperātōrēs ūnum rēgnō, alterum vītā expulisset. 3. postrēmō, cum Maximus sē nōn sponte sumpsisse imperium affirmāret, sed impositam sibi ā mīlitibus dīvīnō nūtū rēgnī necessitātem armīs dēfendisse, et nōn aliēnam ab eō Deī voluntātem vidērī, penes quem tam incrēdibilī ēventū victōria fuisset, nūllumque ex adversāriīs nisi in aciē occubuisse, tandem victus vel ratiōne vel precibus ad convīvium vēnit, mīrum in modum gaudente rēge, quod id impetrāsset. 4. convīvae autem aderant, velut ad diem festum ēvocāti, summī atque illustrēs virī, praefectus īdemque cōnsul Euōdius, vir quō nihil umquam iustius fuit, comitēs duo summā potestāte praeditī, frāter rēgis et patruus: medius inter hōs Martīnī presbyter accubuerat, ipse autem in sellulā iuxta rēgem positā cōnsēderat. 5. ad medium ferē convīvium, ut mōris est, pateram rēgi minister obtulit. ille sānctō admodum epīscopō potius darī iubet, exspectāns atque ambiēns, ut ab illius dexterā pōculum sūmeret. 6. sed Martīnus ubi ēbibit, pateram presbyterō suō trādidit, nūllum scīlicet existimāns digniōrem, quī post sē prīor biberet, nec integrum sibi fore, si aut rēgem ipsum aut eōs, quī ā rēge erant proximī, presbyterō praetulisset. 7. quod factum imperātor omnēsque quī tunc aderant ita admīrātī sunt, ut hoc ipsum eīs, in quō contemptī fuerant, placēret. celeberrimumque per omne palātium fuit, fēcisse Martīnum in rēgis prandiō, quod in īnfimōrum iūdicum convīviīs nēmō epīscopōrum fēcisset. 8. eīdemque Maximō longē ante praedīxit futūrum ut, sī ad Ītaliam pergeret, quō īre cupiēbat, bellum Valentiniānō imperātōri īnferēns, scīret sē primō quidem impetū futūrum esse victōrem, sed parvō post tempore esse peritūrum. 9. quod quidem ita vīdimus. nam primō adventū eius Valentiniānus in fugam versus est: deinde post annum ferē resumptīs viribus captum intrā Aquilēiae mūrōs Maximum interfēcit.

ut minora tantis inseram: 'so that I might include lesser events with such great achievements'. The subjunctive is a kind of purpose clause used parenthetically, like the common ut ita dicam, 'so to speak'.

quamvis . . . praecipuum sit: 'although, as is the age of our times, in which all things are now depraved and corrupt, it is almost an exceptional achievement'. sit is subjunctive after the conjunction quamvis, which is normal (AG 527).

adūlātiōnī . . . cōnstantiam: 'for priestly constancy not to yield to royal flattery', i.e. for priests not to yield to the temptation to flatter the emperor so as to gain personal advantage. This infinitive phrase is the subject of the preceding verb, sit, specifying what counts as an exceptional achievement nowadays.

imperatorem Maximum: Magnus Maximus, Roman emperor AD 383-8.

elatum: 'puffed up, arrogant' (> effero).

notaretur: 'was observed'.

seque degenere inconstantiā regiae clientelae sacerdotalis dignitas subdidisset: 'and with contemptible weakness, priestly dignity had subjected itself to royal clientage'. degenere is ablative > degenersubdidisset > subdo. The elaborate syntax and emotive terms are a sign of Sulpicius' emotional involvement in this issue. As he describes in more detail in the Chronica, Sulpicius saw clerics of this period sometimes flatter and manipulate emperors into persecuting rival Christian sects and factions. In his view the church should be separate from and above the state, but many bishops became entangled in imperial politics. Martin set a good example by staying true to his principles and not flattering the emperors for his own personal advantage.

et si pro aliquibus regi supplicandum fuit: 'even if it was necessary to petition the emperor on somebody's behalf'. As a bishop Martin might have to intercede with the emperor on behalf of a member of his flock.

mensae eius . . . qui: 'the table of that man who', i.e., Maximus.

imperatores unum regno, alterum vita expulisset: 'had expelled one emperor from office, another from life'. In his rise to power Maximus had killed the western emperor Gratian and later invaded Italy, displacing Valentinian II.[3]

cum Maximus . . . affirmaret: 'when Maximus declared that' (>affirmo (1)). This is followed by a series of infinitives in indirect statement.

se . . . defendisse: 'that he had defended'.

divino nutu: 'with divine approval' (> nutus, -us, m., nod).

non alienam ab: 'not unfriendly to'.

penes quem . . . victoria fuisset: 'since the victory had been due to Him'. fuisset is subjunctive because the relative clause is causal (AG 535e).

tandem victus: 'won over at last' (the antecedent is Martin).

impetrasset: 'had obtained' (> impetro (1) = impetravisset), subjunctive because it gives the reason on the authority of another, not the writer himself (AG 540).

convivae autem aderant: 'Moreover, there were present as his fellow diners . . . ' There follows a list of notables, some of the most powerful men of that time.

Euodius: Flavius Euodius, consul 386.

vir quo nihil umquam iustius fuit: 'a man than whom no one (lit. nothing) was ever more just'.

ut moris est: 'as is customary' (> mos moris, f.).

pateram: a broad, shallow bowl or dish, used in making libations.

ambiens: 'seeking'.

ut ab illius dextera poculum sumeret: 'that he (Maximus) would receive the drinking vessel from that man's (Martin's) right hand'--which would be a sign of respect to Maximus. According to Roman drinking custom a person proposing a toast tastes the wine in his cup and then hands it over to be drunk by the person honored (propinatio).

digniorem, qui post se prior biberet: 'more worthy to drink immediately after him'. Subj. is regular in a relative clause after dignus (AG 535f).

nec integrum sibi fore: 'and (thinking) that it would not be morally upright for him'.

ut hoc ipsum eis, in quo contempti fuerant, placeret: 'that this very thing, in which they had been treated with contempt, was pleasing to them'.

celeberrimum . . . fuit: 'it was much talked about that'.

fecisse Martinum . . . quod: 'that Martin had done . . . that which'.

futurum: 'the future, what was to come'

sciret se . . . periturum: 'he ought to be aware that he would be victorious in the first onslaught, at any rate, but that he would die soon after'. sciret is subjunctive in a noun clause, as is regular after verbs of warning and admonishing (AG 563), the notion of admonishing being implicit in praedixit futurumesse periturum > pereo, -ire.

quod quidem ita vidimus: 'And this is in fact what we have seen'.

Aquileiae:  'of Aquileia, an important city at the northern extremity of the Adriatic. Satellite image.

īnserō -sere -sēvī -situm: put in, introduce into

dēprāvō -prāvāre: corrupt, tamper with

praecipuus -a -um: special, particular, excellent adv. praecipuē: especially, particularly

adūlātiō -ōnis f.: fawning; adulation

sacerdōtālis -e: priestly, sacerdotal

cōnstantia -ae f.: firmness of character, steadfastness

ferōx -ōcis: wild, fierce

dēgener -eris: degenerate, ignoble, base

inconstantia -ae f.: inconstancy, changeableness, fickleness

clientēla -ae f.: citizenship, clients

subdō -dere -didī -ditum: lay under; put in the place of, substitute

apostolicus -a -um: relating to an apostle, apostolic

permaneō -manēre -mānsī -mānsum: stay through, remain, endure

supplicō -āre: kneel, beseech, entreat, supplicate

abstineō -tinēre -tinuī -tentum: abstain, restrain

particeps -cipis: sharing, partaking; participant

expellō -pellere -pulī -pulsum: push out, expel (+ abl.)

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

affirmō -āre: assert, declare, affirm

penes: with, in the power or possession of

incrēdibilis -e: not credible, not believable, incredible

ēveniō -venīre -vēnī -ventum: come forth; happen

adversārius -ī m.: opponent, adversary, enemy

occubō -cubāre: lie, rest, repose in the grave

impetrō -āre: accomplish, effect, bring to pass

convīva -ae m.: table companion, guest

fēstus -a -um: festive, festal

ēvocō -vocāre: call out, summon, challenge

praefectus -ī m.: prefect

praeditus -a -um: gifted or endowed with

patruus -ī m.: a father's brother, paternal uncle

accubō -cubāre: recline at

sellula -ae f.: little seat, stool

iūxtā: (adv. and prep. + acc.), close by, near, nigh

consīdō -sīdere -sēdī -sessum: settle, take position

patera -ae f.: libation cup or bowl

minister -trī m.: attendant; minister, administrator

ambiō -īre -iī -itum: go around, encircle

pōculum -ī n.: drinking cup

ēbibō -bere -bibī -bitum: drink up, drain

bibō bibere bibī bibitum: drink

praeferō -ferre -tulī -lātum: place before, prefer; esteem

admīror -mīrāri -mīrātus sum: wonder at, marvel at

celeber -bris -bre: frequented, crowded; famous

palātium -ī n.: palace

prandium -ī n.: meal

impetus -ūs m.: an attack, assault, onset

resūmō -sūmere -sūmpsī -sūmptum: take up again, take back; recover

Text Read Aloud
Article Nav
Previous
Next

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-20