1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sedulius, Coelius

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18890301911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 24 — Sedulius, Coelius

SEDULIUS, Coelius or Caelius (a praenomen of doubtful authenticity), a Christian poet of the first half of the 5th century, is termed a presbyter by Isidore of Seville and in the Gelasian decree. He must not be confused with Sedulius the Irish-Scot grammarian of the 9th century. 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. A hymn by Sedulius 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 some later ones 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.

Sedulius's works were edited by F. Arevalo (Rome, 1794), reprinted in P. Migne's Patrol. Lat. vol. xix.; and finally by J. Huemer (Vienna, 1885). See J. Huemer, De Sedulii poëtae vita et scriptis commentatio (Vienna, 1878); M. Manitius, Geschichte der christlich-lateinischen Poesie (Stuttgart, 1891); Teuffel-Schwabe, Hist. of Roman Lit. (Eng. trans.), 473; Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie, xviii. (Leipzig, 1900); Smith and Wace, Dictionary of Christian Biography (1887).