Sulpicius Severus' Vita Martini

ISBN : 9780199676224

Philip Burton
320 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Sep 2017
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The Vita Martini or Life of Martin of Sulpicius Severus is one of the classic Latin hagiographies. Its hero, Martin, was one of the first monks in the Western Roman Empire, and was also one of the first monk-bishops. His life, as presented by Sulpicius, is a series of confrontations: with various Emperors and other leading figures in the Roman state, with members of the 'Arian heresy', Christians whose theology of the Trinity placed them at odds with exponents of 'Nicene' Christianity, with the his lax and venal fellow-bishops in Gaul, and above all with the Devil, whose various shows of strength and guile Martin faces down. The Vita Martini is a brilliant combination of Christian and classical culture, providing allusions both to the Bible and to authors such as Virgil and Sallust throughout. In addition to its intrinsic literary and historical interest, it is also an ideal first example of a 'real Latin' text, with a series of vivid, anecdotal episodes. This edition provides a Latin text with facing English translation, along with a commentary addressing matters of linguistic, literary, theological, and wider cultural interest, taking into account the revolution in the study of 'late antiquity' in the last fifty years.


Note on Background Reading
Sulpicius Severus: History and chronology
Martin of Tours: History and chronology
Hagiography as a Genre
Typology: a 'literary key' to the Vita Martini?
Language and Style
Notes on the text
Text and translation

About the author: 

Philip Burton is Reader in Latin and Early Christian Studies at the University of Birmingham.

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