Gaius Sollius Modestus Apollinaris Sidonius, better known as Sidonius Apollinaris, was a poet, diplomat, and bishop.
25 Facts About Sidonius Apollinaris
Sidonius Apollinaris retained his position as bishop after the city's conquest, until his death in the 480s.
Sidonius Apollinaris is one of four Gallo-Roman aristocrats of the 5th- to 6th-century whose letters survive in quantity; the others are Ruricius, bishop of Limoges, Alcimus Ecdicius Avitus, bishop of Vienne and Magnus Felix Ennodius of Arles, bishop of Ticinum.
Sidonius Apollinaris's writing is characterised by an extremely dense network of classical and biblical allusions, which was central to his self-presentation as a Roman aristocrat.
Sidonius Apollinaris married Papianilla, the daughter of Emperor Avitus, around 452.
Sidonius Apollinaris describes the villa in detail in his letters, as an L-shaped villa with three baths, located on a hill overlooking the lake, but the description draws heavily on Pliny the Younger's depiction of his own villas and is carefully crafted to present his cultural identity.
Sidonius Apollinaris' letters reveal him to have been part of a wide-reaching network of Roman aristocrats in Gaul.
Sidonius Apollinaris's correspondence focussed on his own region of Auvergne, where his main interlocutors were based in Clairmont and the provincial capital of Lyon.
Sidonius Apollinaris was recognised in life for his literary accomplishments; a bronze statue of him was erected in the gallery of writers in the libraries in Trajan's Forum in 456, the last statue to be erected there.
Sidonius Apollinaris spent time in the court of Theodoric II, king of the Visigoths in 455 or 456 and begins his collection of letters with an account of his court for his brother-in-law Agricola, in which he praises him as an ideal king.
In 457 Majorian deprived Avitus of the empire and seized the city of Lyons; Sidonius Apollinaris fell into his hands.
However, the reputation of Sidonius Apollinaris's learning led Majorian to treat him with the greatest respect.
In return Sidonius Apollinaris composed a panegyric in his honour, which won for him a statue at Rome and the title of comes.
In 469, Sidonius Apollinaris was elected to succeed Eparchius, a relative of his wife, in the bishopric of Averna.
Sidonius Apollinaris says little about this in his writing and it appears that he had not desired the role.
Sidonius Apollinaris writes in praise of the aristocrats who supported the church, ascetics, and authors of theological works, including those that incorporated pagan philosophy.
Sidonius Apollinaris compared the conflict to the Carthaginian capture of Capua during the Second Punic War, casting Euric in the role of Hannibal and himself as Decius Magius, loyally defending the city on behalf of Rome.
Euric favoured Arianism over Catholicism and Sidonius Apollinaris maintained contacts with Catholic clergy throughout Gaul and beyond, in order to support them in legal disputes and with recommendations.
Sidonius Apollinaris was involved in legal disputes with a Gothic noble who had seized the majority of his mother-in-law's lands and clashed with Seronatus, whom he considered a collaborator, for encouraging them to billet their troops in the villas of Roman aristocrats.
Sidonius Apollinaris was still living in 481, but had died by 490, when his successor as bishop, Aprunculus, died.
Sidonius Apollinaris's relations have been traced over several generations as a narrative of a family's fortunes, from the prominence of his paternal grandfather's time into later decline in the 6th century under the Franks.
Sidonius Apollinaris was bishop of Clermont for four months before his death.
Sidonius Apollinaris emphasises Rome's past successes and glories as a "crisis mirror" for contemporary rulers, suggesting both the degree to which Rome had declined but the possibility of revitalisation.
Sidonius Apollinaris' visit to the villa is compared to a meeting of Apollo with Dionysus, at which they decide to settle in Aquitania and establish learned symposiastic culture there.
Sidonius Apollinaris worked on his letter collection over a protracted period, publishing some of them in the early 470s and producing the final version of his collection around 477.