Friday, November 17, 2006

Profiles in Toadying IV: the aforementioned Sulpicius

The only thing I can say about that shiny, purple-haired bishounen version of St. Martin is that it is not the kind of thing that would be out of character for Sulpicius to write. Hagiography is definitely an uncritical type of writing, but the bits of Sulpicius's Life of St Martin where he talks about meeting the saint read like self-insertion fanfic.

Intercourse of Sulpitius with Martin.
FOR since I, having long heard accounts of his faith, life and virtues, burned with a desire of knowing him, I undertook what was to me a pleasant journey for the purpose of seeing him. At the same time, because already my mind was inflamed with the desire of writing his life, I obtained my information partly from himself, in so far as I could venture to question him, and partly from those who had lived with him, or well knew the facts of the case. And at this time it is scarcely credible with what humility and with what kindness he received me; while he cordially wished me joy, and rejoiced in the Lord that he had been held in such high estimation by me that I had undertaken a journey owing to my desire of seeing him. Unworthy me! (in fact, I hardly dare acknowledge it), that he should have deigned to admit me to fellowship with him! He went so far as in person to present me with water to wash my hands, and at eventide he himself washed my feet; nor had I sufficient courage to resist or oppose his doing so. In fact, I felt so overcome by the authority he unconsciously exerted, that I deemed it unlawful to do anything but acquiesce in his arrangements.

I'm just saying.

Yeah, yeah, calling early medieval hagiographers a bunch of emotional fanboys is hardly tough work; I will, however, get a more substantial post going on the Conquest of Mexico once I finish Bernal Diaz del Castillo's The Conquest of New Spain. Firsthand accounts, that's what we live for here at the GHP. Also, that shit is fucked up. I'm just saying.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I know I say this a lot...

but there are times when I worry about Saint Sulpicius's mental stability. Presented without comment:
In these circumstances, I seemed suddenly to see St. Martin appear to me in the character of a bishop, clothed in a white robe, with a countenance as of fire, with eyes like stars, and with purple hair.

-- letter to the Deacon Aurelius.