EUGIPIUS, yu jip'i-us (EUGIPPIUS, EUGEPIUS, EUGYPPIUS, EGIPPIUS): Monk and ecclesiastical writer; b. in Noricum about 455 or 460; d. between 533 and 543. His life is obscure and the alleged facts given by various writers are to be rejected. Under his name there have been preserved an extract (Thesaurus) from a part of the works of Augustine which circulated in numerous manuscripts during the Middle Ages and was greatly esteemed; some letters, and a biography of St. Severin (q.v.). The latter is his most important work. It is written in a simple style, bare of almost every ornament, and it is this simplicity and naïveté which have procured universal recognition for the work. Historians have special reason to esteem this biography, as they obtain from an eyewitness important information concerning a period and part of the Roman empire which otherwise would be unknown. The time is that after Attila's last invasion of Italy and after his death, when Germanic tribes such as the Goths entered Italy, robbing and spoiling, murdering, and taking captives. Only certain fortresses on the right bank of the Danube resisted for some time the attacks of the Germans, especially through the aid of Severin, who warned the Romans of the threatened invasion and gained also the respect of the Arian Germans and induced them to retire. But the downfall of the Roman dominion in Noricum could not long be postponed. Shortly after the death of Severin (482) the time came which had been predicted by him when the last Romans emigrated from Noricum and returned to Italy. In 487 they carried his bones with them, thus fulfilling his last wish. The remains were finally deposited in 491 or 492 at Lucullanum, on a small island in the Bay of Naples, where a noble woman provided a beautiful burying-place. There a new monastery was erected for Severin's disciples, of which Eugipius became the third abbot.
During the latter years of the life of Severin, Eugipius was one of his disciples. He witnessed his last deeds and heard his last admonitions and predictions. He wrote his biography of the saint in the beginning of the sixth century. A distinguished layman, the author of a biography of a monk named Bassus, had asked Eugipius for material on the life of Severin, with the intention of using it as the basis for another biography. Eugipius complied with the wish, and wrote down all his own recollections and those of his older brethren, arranging them chronologically. Then he hesitated to entrust a layman with his material and finally gave it to Paschasius, a deacon, asking him to write a biography of Severin and give an account of his miracles and predictions. Paschasius, however, refused, on the ground that no scholarly skill could add to the memorial of Eugipius. A stranger, he thought, might only spoil the representation of the pupil and eyewitness. Thus there were no changes made in the manuscript. Eugipius was not learned, especially in secular sciences. His judgment in theological matters is not deep, and he relates miracle after miracle, without the least attempt to explain them.