Section 4

1. Intereā irruentibus intrā Galliās barbarīs Iūliānus Caesar coāctō in ūnum exercitū apud Vangiōnum cīvitātem dōnātīvum coepit ērogāre mīlitibus, et, ut est cōnsuētūdinis, singulī citābantur, dōnec ad Martīnum ventum est. 2. tum vērō opportūnum tempus existimāns, quō peteret missionem — neque enim integrum sibi fore arbitrābātur, sī dōnātīvum nōn mīlitātūrus acciperet —: 3. 'hāctenus,' inquit ad Caesarem, 'mīlitāvī tibi: patere ut nunc mīlitem Deō: dōnātīvum tuum pugnātūrus accipiat, Christī ego mīlēs sum: pugnāre mihi nōn licet.' 4. tum vērō adversus hanc vōcem tyrannus īnfremuit dīcēns, eum metū pugnae, quae posterō diē erat futūra, nōn religiōnis grātiā dētractāre mīlitiam. 5. at Martīnus intrepidus, immō īnlātō sibi terrōre cōnstantior, 'sī hoc,' inquit, 'ignāviae adscrībitur, nōn fidēī, crastinā diē ante aciem inermis adstābō et in nōmine Dominī Iēsū, signō crucis, nōn clipeō prōtēctus aut galeā, hostium cuneōs penetrābō sēcūrus.' 6. retrūdī ergō in custōdiam iubētur, factūrus fidem dictīs, ut inermis barbarīs ōbicerētur. 7. posterō diē hostēs lēgātōs dē pāce mīsērunt, sua omnia sēque dedentēs. unde quis dubitet hanc vērē beātī virī fuisse victōriam, cui praestitum sit, nē inermis ad proelium mitterētur. 8. et quamvīs pius Dominus servāre mīlitem suum licet inter hostium gladiōs et tēla potuisset, tamen nē vel aliōrum mortibus sānctī violārentur obtūtūs, exēmit pugnae necessitātem. 9. neque enim aliam prō mīlite suō Christus dēbuit praestāre victōriam, quam ut subāctīs sine sanguine hostibus nēmō morerētur.

On the Rhine frontier, while the pagan emperor Julian was conscripting forces to repel an anticipated invasion of Germans, Martin refused to reenlist, telling Julian that he was now a soldier of Christ. Martin was imprisoned and was about to be put on the battlefield without armor, when the threat of the invasion miraculously dissipated.

irruentibus intra Gallias barbaris:  the reference is to an invasion by Germans in 352; Julian's first counterattack came in 356 (Ammianus Marcellinus, History of the Later Roman Empire 16.2-3). He began at Autun in Alcase and then moved to the Rhine, eventually pushing the Germans all the way back to Cologne.

civitas Vangionum: Worms, on the Rhine in present day Germany, but then on the eastern frontier of Gaul.

coacto: 'brought together' (> cogo, -ere, -egi, -actum)

ventum est: 'it was come', i.e. 'they came'. Impersonal passive (AG 566).

ut est consuetundinis: 'as is of custom', i.e. 'as is customary'. A type of possessive genitive, cp. moris est (AG 343).

neque enim integrum sibi fore arbitrabatur: 'nor did he think that it would be honest for him'. fore = futurum esse.

patere: 'allow,' 'permit' (> patior, pati, passus sum), 2s imperative.

militem: 'serve as a soldier' (> milito (1)), subjunctive in a jussive noun clause (AG 440).

pugnaturus: '(the man) about to fight'. Substantival use of the participle (AG 499).

adversus hanc vocem: 'in response to this remark'

gratiā: 'for the sake of', ablative with a preceding genitive (religionis).

immo: 'on the contrary'.

inlato sibi terrore: 'with intimidation having been applied to him' (abl. absol.) (inlato > infero, -ferre, -tuli, -latum).

signo...clipeo...galea: abl. of means with protectus.

retrudi . . . in custodiam: 'to be held under arrest'.

facturus fidem dictis: 'about to make good on his words'

ut...obiceretur: 'so that he might be exposed', purpose clause after retrudi (AG 531).

dedentes: 'surrendering' (> dedo, -ere).

beati viri . . . fuisse: 'belonged to the blessed man', or 'was due to the blessed man' (possessive genitive).

praestitum sit, ne: 'it was provided that he not', impersonal passive, followed by a purpose clause (AG 566)

licet: 'even'

vel aliorum mortibus: 'even by the deaths of others'.

sancti . . . obtutūs: '(Martin's) sacred gaze', lit. 'gazes' (obtutus, -us m.).

exemit: 'removed' (> eximo).

neque . . . aliam . . . victoriam, quam ut: 'no other (type of) victory than that', followed by a substantive clause of result (AG 571a).

subactis sine sanguine hostibus: 'since the enemy was subdued without bloodshed' (abl. abs.)

dōnātīvum -ī n.: largess, donative

ērogō -āre: expend, pay out

citō -āre: put in quick motion, incite

opportūnus -a -um: convenient, suitable, opportune

missiō -ōnis f.: a letting go, sending away, a despatching

hāctenus: (adv.) up to this time, thus far, hitherto

tyrannus -ī m.: cruel or severe ruler, despot, tyrant

īnfremō -ere -uī: make or utter a noise; growl, roar

grātiā: (adv.) on account of, for the sake of

dētractō -āre: decline, refuse

īgnāvia -ae f.: cowardice, worthlessness

ādscrībō -scrībere -scrīpsī -scrīptum: ascribe, attribute

crāstinus -a -um: of tomorrow; tomorrow's

inermis -e: unarmed, without weapons, defenceless

clipeum -ī n.: round shield

prōtegō -tegere -tēxī -tēctum: cover in front, protect

galea ae f.: helmet

cuneus -ī m.: wedge

penetrō -āre: enter, penetrate

retrūdō -trūdere -trūsī -trūsum: thrust back

cūstōdia -ae f.: protection, custody, garrison

violō -āre: treat with violence, injure, dishonor

obtūtus -ūs m.: a looking, gaze; the eye

eximō -imere -ēmī -ēmptum: take out, take away, remove

subigō -igere -ēgī -āctum: drive under; overcome, subjugate

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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-4