Section 12

1. Accidit autem īnsequentī tempore, dum iter ageret, ut gentīlis cuiusdam corpus, quod ad sepulcrum cum superstitiōsō fūnere dēferēbātur, obvium habēret: cōnspicātusque ēminus venientium turbam, quidnam id esset ignārus, paululum stetit: nam ferē quīngentōrum passuum intervallum erat, ut difficile fuerit dīnoscere quid vidēret. 2. tamen quia rusticam manum cerneret et agente ventō lintea corporī superiecta volitārent, profānōs sacrificiōrum rītūs agī crēdidit: quia esset haec Gallōrum rusticīs cōnsuetūdō, simulācra daemonum candidō tēcta vēlāmine miserā per agrōs suōs circumferre dēmentiā. 3. levātō ergō in adversōs signō crucis imperat turbae nōn movērī locō onusque dēpōnere. hīc vērō mīrum in modum vidēres miserōs prīmum velut saxa riguisse. 4. dein, cum prōmovēre sē summō cōnāmine nīterentur, ultrā accedere nōn valentēs rīdiculam in vertīginem rotābantur, dōnec victī corporis onus pōnunt: attonitī et sēmet invicem aspicientēs, quidnam sibi accidisset, tacitī cōgitābant. 5. sed cum beātus vir comperisset exsequiārum esse illam frequentiam, nōn sacrōrum, ēlevātā rursum manū dat eīs abeundī et tollendī corporis potestātem. ita eōs et cum voluit, stāre compulit, et cum libuit, abīre permīsit.

Martin encounters a group of Gallic peasants conducting a funeral procession. Believing them to be engaged in a pagan religious ritual, he miraculously freezes the peasants in their tracks; but when he realizes it is merely a funeral he lets them go.

Accidit . . . ut . . . obvium haberet: 'It happened that he met'.

quingentorum passuum: 'of 500 paces', i.e. half a Roman mile.

manum: 'band, group, company'.

agente vento: 'through the action of the wind'.

daemonum: 'of evil spirits' (gen. pl. > daemon, -monis, m. The more usual form is daemonium -i,n.)

simulacra . . . per suos agros circum ferre: 'to carry images (of the gods) around through their fields'. The rite seems to be similar to the Roman Ambarvalia, intended to purify the fields and ensure their productivity.

miserā . . . dementiā: 'in their pitiable delusion' (White). Abl. of manner.

imperat turbae non moveri loco: 'he ordered the crowd not to move'

riguisse: 'become stiff, freeze' (> rigeo or rigesco).

victi: (nom. pl.) 'having been overcome'.

semet invicem aspicientes: 'looking at each other'.

exsequiarum esse illam frequentiam: 'that that was a crowd for a funeral'. The word order shows exsequiarum is emphatic.

superstitiōsus -a -um: superstitious

cōnspicor -spicārī: espy, catch sight of

ēminus: (adv.) at a distance

īgnārus -a -um: not knowing, ignorant (+ gen.)

paululum: (adv.) slightly

quīngentī -ae -a: five hundred

passus -ūs m.: a step

intervāllum -ī n.: space between, interval, distance

dīnoscō -ere: distinguish, discern

linteum -ī n.: linen cloth, sail

superiaciō -iacere -iēcī -iectum: throw over, cast upon; overtop

volitō -āre: fly, flit about, flutter

profānus -a -um: unholy, profane

sacrificium -ī n.: sacrifice

rītus -ūs m.: religious custom, ceremony, rite

simulācrum -i n.: effigy, image

vēlāmen -inis n.: covering, veil

circumferō -ferre -tulī -lātum: carry around

levō -āre: lift, raise, elevate

dēpōnō -pōnere -posuī -positum: put down, put aside, put away

rigēscō -gēscere -guī: stiffen, harden

prōmoveō -movēre -mōvī -mōtum: move forward, advance

cōnāmen -inis n.: an effort, exertion, struggle

nītor nītī nīsus or nīxus sum: strive

rīdiculus -a -um: laughable, absurd, ridiculous

vertīgo -inis f.: a turning or whirling round

rotō -āre: turn round like a wheel; whirl round

attonitus -a -um: thuderstruck, awestruck

invicem: one another, each other

exsequiae -ārum f. pl.: funeral procession

frequentia -ae f.: multitude, crowd, throng

sacrum -ī n.: religious act, sacrifice

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-12