Section 5

1. Exinde relictā mīlitiā sānctum Hilarium Pīctāvae epīscopum cīvitātis, cuius tunc in Deī rēbus spectāta et cognita fidēs habēbātur, expetiit et aliquamdiū apud eum commorātus est. 2. temptāvit autem īdem Hilarius impositō diāconātūs officiō sibi eum artius implicāre et ministeriō vincīre dīvīnō. sed cum saepissimē rēstitisset, indignum sē esse vōciferāns, intellēxit vir altiōris ingeniī, ūnō eum modō posse cōnstringī, sī id eī officiī impōneret, in quō quīdam locus iniūriae vidērētur: itaque exorcistam eum esse praecēpit. quam ille ordinātiōnem, nē dēspexisse tamquam humiliōrem vidērētur, nōn repudiāvit. 3. nec multō post admonitus per sopōrem, ut patriam parentēsque, quōs adhuc gentīlitās dētinēbat, religiōsā sollicitūdine vīsitāret, ex voluntāte sānctī Hilarī profectus est, multīs ab eō obstrictus precibus et lacrimīs ut redīret. maestus, ut ferunt, peregrīnātiōnem illam ingressus est, contestātus frātribus, multa sē adversa passūrum: quod posteā probāvit ēventus. 4. ac prīmum inter Alpēs dēvia secūtus incidit in latrōnēs. cumque ūnus secūrī ēlevātā in caput eius lībrāsset ictum, ferientis dexteram sustinuit alter: vinctīs tamen post tergum manibus ūnī asservandus et spoliandus trāditur. quī cum eum ad remōtiōra dūxisset, percontārī ab eō coepit, quisnam esset. rēspondit Christiānum sē esse. 5. quaerēbat etiam ab eō an timēret. tum vērō cōnstantissimē profitētur, numquam sē tam fuisse sēcūrum, quia scīret misericordiam Dominī maximē in temptātiōnibus adfutūram: sē magis illī dolēre, quī Christī misericordiā utpote latrōcinia exercēns esset indignus. 6. ingressusque ēvangelicam disputātiōnem verbum Deī latrōnī praedīcābat. quid longius morer? latrō crēdidit prōsecūtusque Martīnum viae reddidit, ōrāns ut prō sē Dominum precārētur. īdemque posteā religiōsam agēns vītam vīsus est, adeo ut haec, quae suprā rettulimus, ex ipsō audīta dīcantur.

After leaving the army Martin attached himself to Hilary, bishop of Poiters, who trained him as an exorcist. While crossing the Alps to visit his parents, he was taken prisoner by brigands, and narrowly escaped with his life. He did, however, convert one of the brigands to Christianity.

sanctum Hilarium

Pictavae  episcopum civitatis: St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers (c. 315-367/8), the leading and most respected Latin theologian of his age.

cuius...fides habebatur: 'whose faith was considered'.

imposito diaconatus officio: 'by imposing on him the duty of being a deacon'.

artius: 'more closely' (> artus -a -um).

vir altioris ingenii: 'a man of more noble character', genitive of description, or quality (AG 345).

id . . . officii . . . in quo: 'that (kind) of duty in which.' officii is partitive genitive (AG 346).

praecepit: 'taught' (> praecipio).

ne despexisse . . . videretur: 'lest he seem to have despised it'. videretur is subjunctive in a purpose clause (AG 531).

humiliorem: 'too humble', 'too menial'.

ut...visitaret: 'to visit', noun clause after a verb of warning (admonitus) (AG 446)

ex voluntate: 'in accordance with the wishes of'.

ut ferunt: 'as they say'. Ferre is often used of vaguely reported hearsay. Sulpicius had informants in Martin's circle, as emerges later.

contestatus fratribus: 'solemnly affirming to the brothers that . . .' (cp. TLL 4.690.50).

multa se adversa passurum: (sc. esse), 'he would endure many setbacks'.

primum: 'first' in a series of events (contrast primo, 'at the start', followed by a later development).

devia: (sc. loca) 'an unihabited region' (neut. pl. acc.)

secutus: 'traversing'

secūri: 'axe' (> secūris -is f., not to be confused with sēcurus -a -um, 'without care').

ferientis: 'of the one striking' (> ferio -ire), substantival use of the participle (AG 494).

uni: 'to one' (of the brigands).

quisnam: 'who?' A more emphatic equivalent of quis.

quia sciret: 'because he knew', subj. in a relative clause in indirect discourse, giving a reason or explanatory fact (AG 592.3). The indirect statement begins at profitetur above and includes the infinitives fuisse and dolere.

utpote latrocinia exercens: 'as is to be expected when one is pursuing a life of brigandage'.

qui...esset: 'because he was unworthy', subj. in a relative clause in indirect discourse, giving a reason or explanatory fact (AG 592.3).

quid longius morer?: 'why should I delay longer?', i.e., 'to make a long story short', deliberative subjunctive (AG 444).

ut...precaretur: 'to pray', subj. in a jussive noun clause (AG 563).

rettulimus: 'I (lit. we) have recounted' (> refero).

audita: (sc. esse) 'to have been heard'.

exindē: adv., thence

expetō -petere -petīvi -petītum: deek out, seek for; long for (+abl.)

diāconātus -ūs m.: office of deacon, deaconship

ministerium -ī n.: service, attendance, duty, ministry

vincio vincīre vinxī vinctum: bind

vōciferor -ferārī -ferātus sum: cry out, exclaim

cōnstringō -stringere -strinxī -strictum: bind tight, hold in check

exorcista -ae m.: exorcist

ordinātiō -ōnis f.: arrangement, appointment

humilis -e: low, lowly; humble

repudiō -āre: reject, repudiate

sollicitūdo -inis f.: uneasiness of mind, anxiety

obstringō -stringere -strinxī -strictum: bind, tie; lay under obligation

peregrīnātio -ōnis f.: sojourning, travel, peregrination

contēstor -tēstāri: invoke, call to witness

adversum -i n.: misfortune, calamity, adversity

ēventus -ūs m.: occurrence, event; result

dēvia -orum n.: lonely, unfrequented places

latro -ōnis m.: a highwayman, bandit, brigand

secūris -is f.: axe, hatchet

lībrō -āre: balance, level; swing, brandish

spoliō -āre: despoil; strip, plunder

percontor -ārī -ātus sum: question strictly, inquire, interrogate

utpote: (adv.) inasmuch that, since

latrōcinium -ī n.: robbery; villainy

ēvangelicus -a -um: evangelical

dīsputātio -ōnis f.: discussion, argument, debate

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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-5