1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Apollinaris Sidonius, Caius Sollius

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APOLLINARIS SIDONIUS, CAIUS SOLLIUS (c. 430–487 or 488), Christian writer and bishop, was born in Lyons about A.D. 430. Belonging to a noble family, he was educated under the best masters, and particularly excelled in poetry and polite literature. He married (about 452) Papianilla, the daughter of Avitus, who was consul and afterwards emperor. But Majorianus, in the year 457, having deprived Avitus of the empire and taken the city of Lyons, Apollinaris fell into the hands of the enemy. The reputation of his learning led Majorianus to treat him with the greatest respect. In return Apollinaris composed a panegyric in his honour (as he had previously done for Avitus), which won for him a statue at Rome and the title of count. In 467 the emperor Anthemius rewarded him for the panegyric which he had written in honour of him by raising him to the post of prefect of Rome, and afterwards to the dignity of a patrician and senator. In 472, more for his political than for his theological abilities, he was chosen to succeed Eparchius in the bishopric of Arverna (Clermont). On the capture of that city by the Goths in 474 he was imprisoned, as he had taken an active part in its defence; but he was afterwards restored by Euric, king of the Goths, and continued to govern his bishopric as before. He died in A.D. 487 or 488. His extant works are his Panegyrics on different emperors (in which he draws largely upon Statius, Ausonius and Claudian); and nine books of Letters and Poems, whose chief value consists in the light they shed on the political and literary history of the 5th century. The Letters, which are very stilted, also reveal Apollinaris as a man of genial temper, fond of good living and of pleasure. The best edition is that in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Berlin, 1887), which gives a survey of the manuscripts.

Apollinaris Sidonius (the names are commonly inverted by the French) is the subject of numerous monographs, historical and literary. See, for bibliography, A. Molinier, Sources de l’histoire de France, no. 136 (vol. i.). S. Dill, Roman Society in the Fifth Century, and T. Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders (vol. vii.), contain interesting sections on Apollinaris. See also Teuffel and Ebert’s histories of Latin literature.