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E01270: Sozomen, in his Ecclesiastical History, mentions *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050) and *Hilary (bishop of Poitiers, ob. 367, S00183) as the most prominent ascetic figures of 'Europe' in the late 4th century. Written in Greek at Constantinople, 439/450.

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posted on 12.04.2016, 00:00 by erizos
Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, 3.14. 38-41

(38) Θρᾷκες δὲ καὶ Ἰλλυριοὶ καὶ ὅσοι τὴν καλουμένην Εὐρώπην οἰκοῦσιν, εἰ καὶ ἀπείρατοι ἔτι μοναχικῶν συνοικιῶν ἦσαν, ἀλλ’ οὐ παντελῶς φιλοσόφων ἀνδρῶν ἠτύχουν. ἐγνωρίζετο δὲ τότε παρ’ αὐτοῖς Μαρτῖνος, ὃς ἀπὸ Σαβαρείας τῆς Παννονίας ἐπίσημος ἦν τὸ γένος, ἐν ὅπλοις δὲ λαμπρῶς στρατευσάμενος καὶ συνταγματάρχης ἐγένετο. προτιμήσας δὲ τὸ θεῖον τὸν φιλόσοφον μετῄει βίον. (39) διέτριβε δὲ τὰ πρῶτα παρ’ Ἰλλυριοῖς· ἐπεὶ δὲ προθύμως ὑπὲρ τοῦ δόγματος ἀγωνιζόμενός τινας τῶν ἐνθάδε ἐπισκόπων ἐφώρασε τὰ Ἀρείου φρονοῦντας, ἐπιβουλευθεὶς καὶ πολλάκις δημοσίᾳ τυπτηθεὶς ἐξηλάθη, καὶ εἰς Μεδιόλανον ἐλθὼν καθ’ ἑαυτὸν διέτριβεν. ὑπεχώρησε δὲ ἔνθεν ἐπιβουλευόμενος παρὰ Αὐξεντίου τοῦ τῇδε ἐπισκόπου, οὐδὲ αὐτοῦ ὑγιῶς ἔχοντος περὶ τὴν πίστιν τῶν ἐν Νικαίᾳ συνελθόντων. (40) καὶ ἐπί τινα χρόνον ῥίζαις βοτανῶν ἀρκούμενος νῆσον ᾤκησεν ἣν Γαλληναρίαν καλοῦσι· μικρὰ δὲ αὕτη καὶ ἀοίκητος, ἐν τῷ Τυρρηνικῷ πελάγει κειμένη. χρόνῳ δὲ ὕστερον καὶ ἐπισκοπεῖν ἐπετράπη τὴν ἐν Ταρρακίναις ἐκκλησίαν. ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον δὲ θαυματουργίας προελθεῖν παραδέδοται, ὡς καὶ νεκρὸν ἐγεῖραι πιστεύεσθαι ἄλλα τε σημεῖα ἐπιτελέσαι ἀποστολικῶν οὐ λειπόμενα. (41) Κατὰ τόδε τὸ ὑπήκοον ἐν τῷ τότε καὶ Ἱλάριον γενέσθαι παρειλήφαμεν, ἄνδρα βίῳ καὶ λόγῳ θεσπέσιον, ὃς Μαρτίνῳ τῆς φυγῆς ἐκοινώνησε διὰ τὴν περὶ τὸ δόγμα σπουδήν.

‘(38) Even though the Thracians, Illyrians, and those inhabiting the land called Europe still had no experience of monastic communities, they were not completely deprived of ascetic men. At that time, a famous man in their lands was Martin who was of prominent lineage from Savaria in Pannonia. He had a brilliant career in the army, and became a tribune. Yet he was more inclined to religion and converted to ascetic life. (39) He first lived in Illyricum, but because, in his eager struggle for orthodoxy, he revealed many of the local bishops as being followers of the Arian creed, he was assaulted, publicly flogged several times, and exiled. He then went to Mediolanum [Milan] and lived on his own, but he left that place as well, because of the hostility of the local bishop, Auxentius, whose disposition towards the faith of the Fathers of Nicaea was not sound either. (40) For some time he lived eating only roots of herbs, on an island called Gallenaria. This is a small uninhabited island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. After some time, he was ordained as bishop of the church in Tarrakinai [for Tours]. Tradition has it that he reached such a great level of miracle working that he is even believed to have raised a dead man, and to have performed other wonders by no means inferior to those of the Apostles. (41) In the same region, during that period, we hear also about Hilary, a divine man both in living and words, who joined Martin in exile on account of his struggle for orthodoxy.'

Text: Bidez and Hansen 1995. Translation: E. Rizos.

History

Evidence ID

E01270

Saint Name

Martin, bishop of Tours (Gaul), ob. 397 : S00050 Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, ob. 368 : S00183

Saint Name in Source

Μαρτῖνος Ἱλάριος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

439

Evidence not after

450

Activity not before

439

Activity not after

450

Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Constantinople

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

Sozomen

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts

Source

Salamenios Hermeias Sozomenos (known in English as Sozomen) was born in the early 5th c. to a wealthy Christian family, perhaps of Arab origins, in the village of Bethelea near Gaza. He was educated at a local monastic school, studied law probably at Beirut, and settled in Constantinople where he pursued a career as a lawyer. Sozomen published his Ecclesiastical History between 439 and 450, perhaps around 445. It consists of nine books, the last of which is incomplete. In his dedication of the work, Sozomen states that he intended to cover the period from the conversion of Constantine to the seventeenth consulate of Theodosius II, that is, 312 to 439, but the narrative of the extant text breaks in about 425. The basis of Sozomen’s work is the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates, published a few years earlier, which our author revises and expands. Like Socrates, Sozomen was devoted to Nicene Orthodoxy and the Theodosian dynasty, but his work is marked by stronger hagiographical interests, a richer base of sources, and different sympathies/loyalties. Sozomen probably lacked the classical education of Socrates, but had a broader knowledge of hagiographical and monastic literature and traditions, which makes him a fuller source for the cult of saints. Besides Greek and Latin, Sozomen knew Aramaic, which allowed him to include information about ascetic communities, monastic founders, and martyrs from his native Palestine, Arabia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia, to which Socrates had had no access. Much like the other ecclesiastical historians of the fourth and fifth centuries, Sozomen focuses on the East Roman Empire, only seldom referring to the West and Persia.

Discussion

This passage belongs to a chapter discussing the development of monasticism in various parts of the Roman Empire in the late fourth century (see E04020). Sozomen's main source, the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates, is mainly aware of the sources concerning Egyptian monasticism, namely Athanasius' Life of Antony, Rufinus, the History of the Monks in Egypt, and Palladius' Lausiac History. Sozomen supplements this with his own rich information about monastic hagiography from various regions. Quite clearly, Martin was the only notable ascetic figure of the West known to him, and the only one he mentions in the whole work. It seems very probable that Sozomen consulted the Life of Martin by Sulpicius Severus, which will have been available in Constantinople a few decades after its publication in Gaul. A lawyer by profession, Sozomen certainly knew Latin and would have been able to read the Life of Martin in the original. Alternatively, he may have heard Martin's story being recounted in the monastic circles he seems to have been familiar with. This paragraph echoes information from chapters 1-8 of the Life of Martin, and gives all the essential details about Martin’s origins in Savaria, his military career, his anti-Arian struggles in Illyricum, his first monastic years in Milan and on the Isle of Gallinara, his acquaintance with Hilary of Poitiers, and his manifold miracles. There are, of course, some minor differences from Sulpicius Severus. Martin is said to have been a syntagmatarches which may be the Greek equivalent of a centurion or tribune. No such a detail is known from Severus' text. Sozomen also seems to be unaware of the fact that Martin’s bishopric and main area of activity were in Gaul. His reference to the city as Tarrakinai is perhaps a mistaken reproduction of the phrase Ecclesia Turonica (Church of Tours), which will have been unknown to the Eastern author and his later copyists. Sozomen says nothing about Martin's career as a miracle-working bishop, but this may be due to the fact that the author's subject in this chapter was monastic holy men flourishing in the 340s to 370s; hence his thematic and chronological emphasis is on Martin's early life. Sozomen’s reference is a valuable testimony to the spread of the hagiography of Martin in the East Roman capital. However, it seems that its impact was limited. No Greek translation of Sulpicius Severus is known to have been produced in Late Antiquity.

Bibliography

Text: Bidez, J., and Hansen, G. C., Sozomenus. Kirchengeschichte. 2nd rev. ed. (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte, Neue Folge 4; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1995). Translations: Grillet, B., Sabbah, G., Festugière A.-J. Sozomène, Histoire ecclésiastique. 4 vols. (Sources chrétiennes 306, 418, 495, 516; Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1983-2008): text, French translation, and introduction. Hansen, G.C. Sozomen, Historia ecclesiastica, Kirchengeschichte, 4 vols. (Fontes Christiani 73; Turnhout: Brepols, 2004): text, German translation, and introduction. Hartranft, C.D. “The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Comprising a History of the Church from AD 323 to AD 425." In A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church: Second Series, edited by P. Schaff and H. Wace (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1890), 179-427. Further reading: Chesnut, G. F. The First Christian Histories: Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Evagrius (Atlanta: Mercer University, 1986). Cronnier, E. Les inventions de reliques dans l’Empire romain d’Orient (IVe-VIe s.) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2016). Janin, R. La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire Byzantin. I 3: Les eglises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople (Paris, 1969). Leppin, H. Von Constantin dem Grossen zu Theodosius II. Das christliche Kaisertum bei den Kirchenhistorikern Socrates, Sozomenus und Theodoret (Hypomnemata 110; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996). Van Nuffelen, P., Un héritage de paix et de piété : Étude sur les histoires ecclésiastiques de Socrate et de Sozomène (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 142; Leuven: Peeters, 2004).

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