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E06109: Jerome, in his treatise to Demetrias, cites *Agnes (virgin and martyr of Rome S00097) as an example of chastity; Letter 130, written in Latin in Bethlehem (Palestine), 414.

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posted on 14.08.2018, 00:00 by Philip
Jerome of Stridon, Letter 130.5

Si te uirorum exempla non prouocant, hortetur faciatque securam beata martyr Agnes, quae et aetatem uicit et tyrannum et titulum castitatis martyrio coronauit.

'If the examples of men don't move you, the blessed martyr Agnes will encourage you and make you feel secure, she who overcame both her youth and her persecutor, and crowned the name of chastity with her martyrdom.'

Text: Hilberg 1996 (1918). Translation: P. Polcar.

History

Evidence ID

E06109

Saint Name

Agnes, virgin and martyr of Rome : S00097

Saint Name in Source

Agnes

Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

414

Evidence not after

414

Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Bethlehem

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Bethlehem Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Jerome of Stridon

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children

Source

When in 414 the highborn girl Demetrias chose to embrace the ascetic lifestyle as a perpetual virgin, Jerome addressed a treatise about virginity to her.

Discussion

Among the exampla Jerome provides he mentions the virgin-martyr Agnes. Though there is no evidence of cult, this early reference to Agnes as a martyr, and as an example of chastity, is notable. In talking of Agnes overcoming her youth, Jerome is certainly referring to her overcoming the (sexual) temptations of youth, a theme that runs through his writings to widows and virgins.

Bibliography

Edition: Hilberg, I., Hieronymus, Epistulae 121-154 (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 56/1; Vienna, 1996). Further Reading: Cain, A., The Letters of Jerome: Asceticism, Biblical Exegesis, and the Construction of Christian Authority in Late Antiquity, (Oxford, 2009).

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