« Martinus, St., bp. of Tours Martinus, bp. of Dumium Martyrius, bp. of Jerusalem »

Martinus, bp. of Dumium

Martinus (2), bp. of Dumium in Gallicia, and afterwards metropolitan bp. of Braga, died c. 580; a person of importance, about whom our information is scanty.

Our chief sources are: (1) Isidore, (a) his Life in de Vir. Ill. c. 35, (b) a reference in Hist. Suevorum, Esp. Sagr. vi. 505; (2) Gregory of Tours—(a) de Mirac. Scti. Martini Tur. i. 11; (b) Hist. Franc. v. 38; (3) some Acts of councils of Braga; (4) a letter and poem addressed to him by Venantius Fortunatus (Migne, Patr. Lat. lxxxviii.).

Life.—According to Gregory of Tours and Venantius Fortunatus, Martin was a native of Pannonia ("Pannonia Quiritis," Venantius). He had travelled to the Holy Land, and had in the East acquired such a knowledge of letters that he was held second to no scholar of his day. Thence (ex Orientis partibus) he came to Galicia, arriving "ad portum Galliciae" (? Portucale) on the same day as the relics of St. Martin of Tours, for which Arianus or Theodoric I., king of the Suevi, had shortly before petitioned the guardians of the saint's shrine. In 561, about eleven years after his arrival in the country, he attended the first council of Braga, presided over by Lucretius, metropolitan bp. of Braga. The Acts of the council, which are in an unusual and highly artificial shape, were probably compiled by Martin, the person of the greatest literary pretensions then in Gallicia.

This council evidently marks an era of revival and reformation in Galicia, probably under the auspices of the orthodox and energetic Martin. The only mention of Arianism in it throughout occurs in a letter of pope Vigilius which was read. Probably this indirect handling, and the penalties decreed generally against intercourse with heretics, were all that the bishops felt themselves strong enough to venture against a creed which had been shortly before the religious confession of the Suevian nation, and had no doubt still many friends in high places. Eleven years later another council was held at Braga, and Martin now occupied the metropolitan see as successor to Lucretius, the bishops addressing him in unusually submissive terms. Eleven bishops were present from the two synods of Lugo and Braga, which here appear as two distinct metropolitan dioceses for the first and only time in authentic history.

We may probably place the correspondence of Martin with Venantius Fortunatus between 572 and 580. In 580 Martin died, greatly mourned by the people of Gallicia. His memory is celebrated on Mar. 30.

Works.—(1) Formula Vitae Honestae, as he himself calls it in the preface, otherwise de Differentiis Quatuor Virtutum (so Isid. l.c.), or de Quatuor Virtutibus Cardinalibus — a little tract extremely popular in the middle ages, and frequently printed during the 15th and 16th cents. The best ed. is by Hasse in Sen. Op. iii. 468, where he describes the Formula as more frequently read and quoted in the middle ages than any of the genuine works of Seneca, to whom it was ascribed in early editions. There is an ed. by A. Weidner (Magdeburg, 1871). Cf. Fabricius, Bibl. Med. Ae. Inf. Lat. iii., Bibl. Latina, ed. 1773, ii. 119.

(2) De Moribus, a tract consisting of maxims from various sources. (Haase, xx.)

(3) De Correctione Rusticorum.—In this interesting tract Martin discusses the origin of idolatry and denounces the heathen customs still remaining in Galicia. His theory is that the fallen angels or demons assumed the names and shapes of notoriously wicked men and women who had already existed, such as Jove, Venus, Mars; that the nymphs, Lamias, and Neptune are demons with power to harm all who are not fortified with the sign of the cross, and who shew their faithlessness by calling the days of the week after the heathen gods. The observance of calends, the propitiation of mice and moths by presents of bread and cloth, auguries, the observance of the New Year on Jan. 1 instead of on the March equinox, when in the beginning God "divided the light from the darkness" by an equal division, the burning of wax tapers at stones, trees, streams, and crossways, the adornment of tables, the pouring of corn over the log on the hearth, the placing of wine and bread in the wells, the invocation of Minerva by the women at their spinning, the worship of Venus, the incantation of medicinal herbs, divination by birds and by sneezing, are all denounced as pagan superstitions, offensive to God and dangerous to him who practises them. The sign of the cross is to be the remedy against auguries and all other diabolical signs. The holy incantation, viz. the Creed, is the Christian's defence against diabolical incantations and songs.

(4) De Trina Mersione, a letter to a bp. Boniface on threefold immersion in baptism.

(5–9) Pro Repellenda jactantia, de Superbia, Exhortatio Humilitatis, de Ira, de Pascha, 5 small tracts, first pub. by Tamayo de Salazar in vol. ii. of his Martyrol. Hisp. and rightly considered genuine (Gams, ii. (1) 473).

(10) De Paupertate, a short tract, consisting of excerpts from Seneca, sometimes attributed to Martin, but not mentioned by 705Florez or by Nicolas Antonio (Bibl. Vat. Bayer's ed. Haase, l.c. xx. 458).

Martin's Translations.—Besides his adaptations of Latin Stoical literature, Martin produced or superintended many translations from the Greek. The chief are (a) the Capitula Martini, a collection of 84 canons, which had great vogue and influence in the middle ages. These "capitula sive canones orientalium antiquorum patrum synodis a venerabili Martino episcopo, vel ab omni Bracarensi synodo excerpti," were incorporated in the earliest form of the Spanish Codex Canonum. With it they passed into the pseudo-Isidorian collection, and so obtained widespread influence. The sources of the collection cannot be all ascertained, they are not exclusively from Greek sources. They are, with some corrections, in Brun's Canones Apostolorum, (Berlin, 1839), ii. 43. (b) Interrogationes et Reponsiones Plurimae, sct. Aegyptiorum Patr., trans. from an unknown Greek source by a deacon Paschasius in the monastery of Dumium, with a preface by Martin, at whose command the work had been undertaken (Rosweyd, Vitae Patrum, lib. vii. p. 505, and Prolegomenon, xiv.; Florez, Esp. Sagr. xv. 433).

Was Martin a Benedictine?—The great Benedictine writers unhesitatingly answer in the affirmative. (So Mabillon, Annales O. S. B. and Bibliothèque générale de l’Ordre de Saint Benoit, ii. 203.) But it is on the whole most probable that Martin adopted one of the various older rules still current in the contemporary monasteries of S. Gaul, with some of which we know him to have had relations. About 100 years later his illustrious successor in the sees of Dumium and Braga, St. Fructuosus, drew up a monastic rule for his monastery of Compludo, which was mainly an abbreviation of the Benedictine rule, but contained also provisions not found in that rule. This is the only piece of historical evidence connecting the Benedictine rule with Visigothic Catholicism. (Migne, Pat. Lat. lxxxvii. 1096; Yepés, Chron. del Ord. de S. Benito, i. for the ultra-Benedictine view. On the general subject of monasticism in Gothic Spain cf. Dahn, Könige der Germanen, vi.)

Martin's Personality.—That Martin played an important and commanding part in his generation all that remains of him suggests. His life appears to have been greatly influenced by the parallel so often drawn by his contemporaries between him and the greater Martin of Tours. We may also regard him to some extent as a piece in a political game. If Martin the missionary, ex Orientis partibus, effected the Suevian conversion, his career is one element in a scheme of European politics which can be traced through the greater part of 6th cent., and in which the destruction of the Suevian kingdom by Leovigild 5 years after Martin's death, and the West Gothic conversion to Catholicism under Reccared, are important incidents. (Gams, Kirchengesch. von Spanien ii. (1) 471.)

[M.A.W.]

« Martinus, St., bp. of Tours Martinus, bp. of Dumium Martyrius, bp. of Jerusalem »





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