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Sulpicius Severus

c.362-early FIFTH century. Hagiographer. Born of a noble family in Aquitaine, he received that classical education in rhetoric which prepared him for the law. He partially followed the pattern of his friend Paulinus of Nola,* (among whose letters there remains one to Severus) into a semi-monastic life under the guidance of Martin,* bishop of Tours, who ordained him presbyter. Severus began a “life” of Martin and thereby contributed to the development of Christian hagiography. While this work shows itinerary and contacts through Gaul of his time, the form is almost devoid of general historical data-a situation partly remedied by Severus's Chronicle in two books based on biblical and classical materials, extended to 403, devised as a textbook for the Christian reader. Whether Severus died before or after the sacking of Rome (410) is not known.

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