The Vineyard of Saba the Eremite. Some remarks on Vita Hilarionis (17, 26-27), by Jerome

Author: Ireneusz Milewski


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The remarks in the text refer to a short passus in the Vita Hilarionis, in which Jerome describes visits of his protagonist to two clusters of Palestinian eremites who owned vineyards. Jerome juxtaposes two extreme instances: a mean monk (whose name he intentionally omits) and a generous monk called Saba, occasionally providing information on the forecasted harvest of grapes. However, the numbers he quotes (both in terms of the number of monks participating in the described event and of the numbers stipulating the estimated and actual size of the harvest) do reduce the cognitive value of the account. Jerome used topical values to define them.


Jerome of Stridon, late antiquity, early Byzantine monasticism, early Byzantine economy, early Byzantine hagiography