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).
Hoc Matthaeus agens hominem generaliter implet;
Matthew plays the role of the whole human race;
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 Arévalo (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
- Roger P H Green, Latin Epics of the New Testament: Juvencus, Sedulius, Arator, Oxford UP 2008 ISBN 978-0-19-928457-3 (reviewed by Teresa Morgan in the article "Poets for Jesus", Times Literary Supplement 4 April 2008 p 31).
- Paul Lejay (1913). "Sedulius". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- http://www.libraryireland.com/names/men/siadhal-siaghal-shiel.php. Missing or empty
- Biography of Sedulius (5th century poet) at Christian Classics Ethereal Library
- This incipit was borrowed for the Carolingian Planctus de obitu Karoli; see Peter Godman (1985), Latin Poetry of the Carolingian Renaissance (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press), 206–211.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sedulius". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. This work in turn cites:
- Johann Huemer, De Sedulii poetae vita et scriptis commentatio (Vienna, 1878)
- Max Manitius, Geschichte der christlich-lateinischen Poesie (Stuttgart, 1891)
- Teuffel-Schwabe, History of Roman Literature (Eng. trans.), 473
- Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie, xviii. (Leipzig, 1906)
- Smith and Wace, Dictionary of Christian Biography (1887)
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