Section 9

1. Sub idem ferē tempus ad epīscopātum Turonicae ecclēsiae petēbātur: sed cum ēruī monastēriō suō nōn facile posset, Rusticius quīdam, ūnus ē cīvibus, uxōris languōre simulātō ad genua illius prōvolūtus ut ēgrederētur obtinuit. 2. ita dispositīs iam in itinere cīvium turbīs, sub quādam custōdiā ad cīvitātem usque dēdūcitur. mīrum in modum incrēdibilis multitūdō nōn sōlum ex illō oppidō, sed etiam ex vīcīnīs urbibus ad suffrāgia ferenda convēnerat. 3. ūna omnium voluntās, eadem vōta eademque sententia, Martīnum ēpiscopātūs esse dignissimum: fēlīcem fore tālī ecclēsiam sacerdōte. paucī tamen et nōnnūllī ex epīscopīs, quī ad cōnstituendum antistitem fuerant ēvocātī, impiē repugnābant, dīcentēs scīlicet, contemptibilem esse persōnam, indignum esse epīscopātū hominem vultū dēspicābilem, veste sordidum, crīne dēformem. 4. ita ā populō sententiae sāniōris haec illōrum inrīsa dēmentia est, quī illustrem virum dum vituperāre cupiunt praedīcābant. nec vērō aliud hīs facere licuit, quam quod populus Dominō volente cōgitābat. inter epīscopōs tamen quī adfuerant praecipuē Dēfēnsor quīdam dīcitur restitisse: unde animadversum est graviter illum lēctiōne prophēticā tum notātum. 5. nam cum fortuitō lēctor, cui legendī eō diē officium erat, interclūsus ā populō dēfuisset, turbātīs ministrīs, dum exspectātur quī nōn aderat, ūnus ē circumstantibus sumptō psaltēriō, quem prīmum versum invēnit, arripuit. 6. psalmus autem hic erat: 'ex ōre īnfantium et lactantium perfēcistī laudem propter inimīcōs tuōs, ut dēstruās inimīcum et dēfēnsōrem.' quō lēctō clāmor populī tollitur, pars dīversa cōnfunditur. 7. atque ita habitum est, dīvīnō nūtū psalmum hunc lēctum fuisse, ut testimōnium operis suī Dēfēnsor audīret, quī ex ōre īnfantium atque lactantium, in Martīnō Dominī laude perfectā, et ostēnsus pariter et dēstructus esset inimīcus.

Martin is cajoled into becoming a candidate for the episcopacy of Tours. He has the support of the common people, but is opposed by some prominent clerics who assembled for the election.

ad episcopatum Turonicae ecclesiae petebatur: 'he was sought (as a candidate) for the episcopacy of Tours', ancient Caesarodunum, a small Gallo-Roman town in the region occupied by the minor Gallic tribe the Turoni, south of the river Loire in France. Satellite image. It became a large city, the center of a great archdiocese, and a pilgrimage site thanks to the posthumous fame of St. Martin. In the early fourth century there were twenty-two bishops in all of Gaul, by the end of that century there were seventy. The date here is 370.

erui: 'to be uprooted' (> eruo, -ere).

ut egrederetur obtinuit: 'convinced him to leave' (his cell).

civitatem: 'the city,' i.e. Tours.

ad suffragia ferenda: 'to cast their votes'.

episcopatūs: genitive with dignissimum

fore: = futurum esse

ad constituendum antistitem: 'for the purpose of installing a bishop'

fuerant evocati: 'had been summoned', = erant evocati.

indignum esse episcopatu hominem vultu despicabilem: '(they said that) a man reprehensible in his appearance was unworthy of the episcopacy'. (indignum takes the ablative).

sententiae sanioris: 'of sounder opinion', genitive of characteristic, with populo.

haec illorum inrisa dementia est: 'this madness of theirs was ridiculed' (> inrideo).

qui: the antecedent is illorum, Martin's critics.

illustrem virum praedicabant: 'were proclaiming him (to be) an excellent person'

his: i.e. the bishops hostile to Martin.

aliud . . . quam quod: 'something other than that which'.

adfuerant: = aderant, 'were present'.

unde animadversum est graviter illum lectione prophetica tum notatum: 'from which cause (i.e. because of his name) it was observed that that man was sternly rebuked at that time in a prophetic public reading'. animadversum est is impersonal passive, > animadverto.

interclusus: 'having been shut out' (> intercludo).

ministris: 'servants' of the church, an order lower than that of the deacons. Cp. Optatus, Against the Donatists (AD 367) 1.132.14 [Blaise].

quem primum versum invenit, arripuit: 'the first verse he found, he sized upon it (and read it out)' (arripuit > adripio, -ere). The antecedent of quem is versum.

ex ore . . . defensorem: a quotation from the Latin version of Psalm 8.3, "Your majesty is praised as high as the heavens, from the mouths of babes and infants at the breast. You have established a bulwark against your adversaries to restrain the enemy and the avenger" (Oxford Study Bible, from the Hebrew). The key word is the last, defensorem, which was taken as a fortuitous allusion to Martin's opponent Defensor.

lactantium: 'sucklings'.

propter: 'against' (a late and vulgar Latin meaning).

pars diversa: 'the opposing faction'.

atque ita habitum est: 'and so it was thought that'.

lectum fuisse: 'had been read' = lectum esse

et ostensus pariter et destructus esset inimicus: 'had been at the same time both revealed as the enemy and destroyed (as the enemy).'

ēruō -ruere -ruī -rutum: move violently out, cast out; elicit

simulō -āre: feign, pretend

prōvolvō -volvere -volvī -volūtum: roll forwards; cast one's self down, prostrate one's self

obtineō -tinēre -tinuī -tentum: hold fast; gain hold of, obtain

dispōnō -pōnere -posuī -positum: put apart; arrange

cūstōdia -ae f.: protection, custody, garrison

incrēdibilis -e: not credible, not believable, incredible

suffrāgium -ī n.: ballot

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

ēvocō -vocāre: call out, summon, challenge

impius -a -um: irreverent, ungodly; wicked, impious

contemptibilis -e: contemptible

dēspicābilis -e: contemptible, despicable

sordidus -a -um: filthy, foul, unclean

crīnis -is m.: hair

dēformō -āre: deform, disfigure

irrīdeō -rīdēre -rīsī -rīsum: laugh at; mock, ridicule

vituperō -āre: blame, disparage, vituperate

animadvertō -vertere -vertī -versum: notice, observe, attend to

lēctiō -ōnis f.: a reading

prophēticus -a -um: predicting, prophetic, prophetical

fōrtuītō: (adv.) by chance, accidentally, fortuitously

lēctor -ōris m.: reader

officiō -icere -ēcī -ectum: hinder, thwart, obstruct

interclūdō -clūdere -clūsī -clūsum: shut off, cut off

turbātus -a -um: troubled, disturbed, agitated

minister -trī m.: attendant; minister, administrator

psaltērium -ī n.: the Songs of David, the Psalms

psalmus -ī m.: psalm

īnfāns -fantis: not capable of speech ; subst. infant

lactō -āre: contain milk, have milk, give suck

perficiō -ficere -fēcī -fectum: achieve, accomplish, finish

dēfēnsor -ōris m.: defender

cōnfundō -fundere -fūdī -fūsum: pour together; confuse, trouble

pariter: (adv.) at the same time, together

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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-9