Section 13

1. Item, cum in vīcō quōdam templum antīquissimum dīruisset et arborem pīnum, quae fānō erat proxima, esset adgressus excīdere, tum vērō antistēs locī illius cēteraque gentīlium turba coepit obsistere. 2. et cum īdem illī, dum templum ēvertitur, imperante Dominō quiēvissent, succīdī arborem nōn patiēbantur. ille eōs sēdulō commonēre, nihil esse religiōnis in stīpite: Deum potius, cui servīret ipse, sequerentur: arborem illam succīdī oportēre, quia esset daemonī dēdicāta. 3. tum ūnus ex illīs quī erat audācior cēterīs: 'sī habēs,' inquit, 'aliquam dē Deō tuō, quem dīcis tē colere, fidūciam, nōsmet ipsī succīdēmus hanc arborem, tu ruentem excipe: et sī tēcum est tuus, ut dīcis, Dominus, ēvādēs.' 4. tum ille intrepidē cōnfisus in Dominō factūrum sē pollicētur. hīc vērō ad istīus modī condiciōnem omnis illa gentīlium turba cōnsēnsit, facilemque arboris suae habuēre iactūram, sī inimīcum sacrōrum suōrum casū illius obruissent. 5. itaque cum ūnam in partem pīnus illa esset acclīnis, ut nōn esset dubium, quam in partem succīsa corrueret, eō locī vinctus statuitur prō arbitriō rusticōrum, quō arborem esse cāsuram nēmō dubitābat. 6. succīdere igitur ipsī suam pīnum cum ingentī gaudiō laetitiāque coepērunt. aderat ēminus turba mīrantium. iamque paulatim nūtāre pīnus et ruīnam suam cāsūra minitārī. 7. pallēbant ēminus monachī et perīculō iam propiōre conterritī spem omnem fidemque perdiderant, sōlam Martīnī mortem exspectantēs. 8. at ille cōnfīsus in Dominō intrepidus opperiēns, cum iam fragōrem suī pinūs concidēns ēdidisset, iam cadentī, iam super sē ruentī, ēlevātā obviam manū, signum salūtis oppōnit. tum vērō — velut turbinis modō retrō āctam putārēs — dīversam in partem ruit, adeo ut rusticōs, quī tōtō in locō steterant, paene prōstrāverit. 9. tum vērō in caelum clāmōre sublātō gentīlēs stupēre mīrāculō, monachī flēre prae gaudiō, Christī nōmen in commune ab omnibus praedīcārī: satisque cōnstitit eō diē salūtem illī vēnisse regiōnī. nam nēmō ferē ex immānī illā multitūdine gentīlium fuit, quī nōn impositiōne manūs dēsīderātā Dominum Iēsum, relictō impietātis errōre, crēdiderit. et vērē ante Martīnum paucī admodum, immō paene nūllī in illīs regiōnibus Christī nōmen recēperant: quod adeo virtūtibus illius exemplōque convaluit, ut iam ibi nūllus locus sit, qui nōn aut ecclēsiīs frequentissimīs aut monastēriīs sit replētus. nam ubi fāna dēstruxerat, statim ibi aut ecclēsiās aut monastēria cōnstruēbat.

esset adgressus: 'had begun' (> adgredior).

dum templum evertitur: 'while their temple was being demolished'. Dum = 'while' can take the present indicative, whatever the tense of the main verb. Cp. Cicero, Verrines 2.161dum ego in Sicilia sum, nulla statua deiecta est. But the impf. subjunctive was also used, see below, 14.5.

quievissent: 'had grown quiet' (> quiesco).

commonere: 'he earnestly impressed on them'. Historical infinitive, introducing indirect statement.

nihil esse religionis in stipite: 'that there was nothing sacred in a stump'. religionis is partitive genitive.

sequerentur: 'that they should follow', jussive subjunctive in indirect statement.

ceteris: 'than the rest', abl. of comparison.

aliquam de Deo tuo . . . fiduciam: 'any confidence in your God'.

nosmet ipsi: 'we ourselves' (-met is intensive).

tu ruentem excipe: you catch it as it falls! tu is emphatic.

confisus: 'trusting' (> confido, -ere, -sus sum).

ad istius modi condicionem: 'to a deal of that type'.

hīc: 'at this point'(Adv.).

facilemque arboris suae habuere iacturam: 'and they considered the loss of their tree easy (to bear)'.

eo loci . . . quo: 'in that place where'. loci is partitive genitive.

vinctus: 'tied up' (> vincio, -ire).

aderat eminus turba mirantium: 'a crowd of people was present looking on in amazement from a distance'.

iamque paulatim ... minitari: 'And now the pine was gradually starting to sway to and fro and, on the point of falling, it threatened its own destruction' (White). Sulpicius is drawing out the suspense.

cum iam fragorem sui pinus concidens edidisset: 'now when the pine had given out a crashing noise from itself as it fell' (edidisset > ēdo).

cadenti . . . ruenti . . . opponit: 'he put in the way of it as it fell . . . as it rushed down' (> oppono + dat.).

signum salutis: 'the sign of salvation', i.e. the cross.

velut turbinis modo retro actam (sc. esse) putares: 'you would think it had been driven back by a kind of whirlwind,' a vivid appeal to the reader in the generalizing 2nd person singular.

prostraverit: 'flattened' (> prosterno), pf. subj. in a result clause.

stupere . . . flere . . . praedicari: 'were amazed at . . . wept . . . was praised', historic infinitives.

satisque constitit: 'and it was generally agreed that' (> consto, -are).

nemo fere . . . fuit, qui non . . . crediderit: 'there was almost no one who did not believe in' (+ acc.). crediderit is pf. subj. in a relative clause of characteristic.

impositione manus desiderata: 'with the laying on of hands having been asked for'. The pagans asked for the laying on of hands, abandoned their errors, and believed.

quod: the antecedent is nomen.

adeo convaluit: 'has become so strong' (> convalesco).

sit repletus: 'has been filled' (> repleo), pf. subj. in a relative clause of characteristic.

vīcus -ī m.: village, hamlet

dīruō -ruere -ruī -rutum: tear asunder, demolish, destroy

pīnus -ī f.: pine tree

adgredior -gredī -gressus sum: begin, undertake

excidō -cīdere -cidī -cīsum: cut out; raze, destroy

antistes -itis m. and f.: presiding priest or priestess

obsistō -sistere -stitī -stitum: set one's self against; oppose, resist

succīdō -cīdere -cīdī -cīsum: cut down, fell

sēdulus -a -um: busy, diligent, zealous, unremitting

commoneō -ēre -uī -itum: put in mind, admonish, impress upon

stīpes -itis m.: log, stem, trunk

dēdicō -dicāre: dedicate, consecrate

fīdūcia -ae f.: trust, confidence

ruō ruere ruī rūtum: throw down, overthrow; rush down

ēvādō -vādere -vāsī -vāsum: go forth, escape

cōnsentiō -sentīre -sēnsī -sēnsum: feel with; agree

sacrum -ī n.: religious act, sacrifice

obruō -ruere -ruī -rutum: overwhelm, cover, bury

acclīnis -e: leaning on, leaning against, inclined towards

corruō -ruere -ruī: fall, fall in a heap

vincio vincīre vinxī vinctum: bind

laetitia -ae f.: joy, gladness

ēminus: (adv.) at a distance

nūtō nūtāre: sway to and fro, totter, shake

ruīna -ae f.: downfall, collapse

minitor -ārī: threaten, menace

palleō -ēre -ui: grow pale

propior -ius: nearer, nigher

conterreō -terrēre: terrify, frighten

opperior -perīrī -pertus sum: wait for, await

fragor -ōris m.: crash, noise

concidō -cidere -cidī: fall down, tumble, collapse

obviam: (adv.) in the way; towards

oppōnō -pōnere -posuī -positum: set or place against, oppose

turbo -inis m.: whirlwind, tornado

retrō: (adv.) backwards, back;

stupeō stupēre stupuī: be stunned, be dazed

mīrāculum -ī n.: wonder, marvel, miracle

prae: (adv. and prep.) in comparison with; on account of

immānis -e: vast, huge, immense, monstrous

impositiō -ōnis f.: the application

impietas -ātis f.: irreverence, impiety

convalēscō -lēscere -luī: grow strong, gain strength

repleō -plēre -plēvī -plētum: fill, fill up, refill

cōnstruō -struere -struxī -structum: construct, build

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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-13