Sulpicius Severus (c. 360 – c. 420) was a Christian biographer and historian from Gaul. He was born in Aquitaine and went on to study law in Bordeaux. After his wife’s death (c. 394), Sulpicius took up the ascetic life and became a disciple of Martin of Tours. He became one of the most zealous supporters and propagandists of Martinian asceticism.

By far his most important work was his Life of Martin of Tours. The biography greatly impacted the popularity of St. Martin, as well as the development of future hagiography in the Middle Ages. Although the work must be read critically due to its emphasis on the miraculous, it still remains one of the most important sources on the bishop’s life.

The following table lists Sulpicius’ surviving works, including approximate dates and CPL numbers. The links provide more information on each of the documents. Spurious works are indicated by as asterisk.

The Writings of Sulpicius Severus



CPL Number

c. 396 Life of Martin of Tours 475
c. 396 Three letters 476
c. 400 Dialogues (two books, but sometimes divided into three) 477
after 404 Chronicles (two books)  474
  *Metrical inscriptions of Saint Martin 478
  *Letters to Paulinus and Salvius 479


Fontaine, J. “Sulpicius Severus.” In Encyclopedia of the Early Church. Edited by Angelo Di Berardino. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 799.

McHugh, Michael P. “Sulpicius Severus.” In Encyclopedia of Early Christianity. Edited by Everett Ferguson. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. 1990, p. 873.

Created by SMT

Last updated: 4-25-2012

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