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Coelius Sedulius

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Coelius Sedulius


Opera Omnia

Coelius Sedulius Coelius Sedulius Wikipedia

Sedulius (sometimes with the nomen Coelius or Caelius, both of doubtful authenticity) was a Christian poet of the first half of the 5th century.



Extremely little is known about his life. Sedulius is the Latin form of the Irish name Siadhal, referring to the a family, sept or "siadhal" meaning "seed." The only trustworthy information is given by his two letters to Macedonius, from which we learn that he devoted his early life, perhaps as a teacher of rhetoric, to secular literature. Late in life he converted to Christianity, or, if a Christian before, began to take his faith more seriously. One medieval commentary states that he resided in Italy. He is termed a presbyter by Isidore of Seville and in the Gelasian decree.


His fame rests mainly upon a long poem, Carmen paschale, based on the four gospels. In style a bombastic imitator of Virgil, he shows, nevertheless, a certain freedom in the handling of the Biblical story, and the poem soon became a quarry for the minor poets. His description of the Four Evangelists in Carmen Paschale became well-known; the English translation below is from Springer (2013, p. 21).

His other writings include an Abecedarian hymn in honour of Christ, consisting of twenty-three quatrains of iambic dimeters, has partly passed into the liturgy, the first seven quatrains forming the Christmas hymn "A solis ortus cardine"; and the Epiphany hymn, "Hostis Herodes impie." A "Veteris et novi Testamenti collatio" in elegiac couplets has also come down, but we have no grounds for ascribing to him the Virgilian cento, "De verbi incarnatione."


  • Faustino ArĂ©valo (Rome, 1794), reprinted in Jacques Paul Migne's Patrologia Latina vol. xix.
  • Johann Huemer (Vienna, 1885).
  • Victoria Panagl (Bearb.), Sedulius, Opera Omnia, Ex Recensione Iohannis Huemer (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum, 10), Wien, 2007, XLVII, 532 S.
  • Springer, Carl P. (2013), Sedulius, The Paschal Song and Hymns, Ancient Israel and Its Literature, 35, SBL Press, ISBN 1589837444 
  • References

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